What Do 2018’s Marijuana Developments Mean for Your Business?

Marijuana legalization continues to spread, as 33 states now allow for its medical use and Canada recently legalized recreational use throughout the entire country. But businesses need to determine how marijuana will affect their workers’ compensation claims, workplace policies and drug screening plans.

Scientists have determined that marijuana can relieve pain and has other medical uses. However, the federal government continues to consider it a Schedule I drug because of its potential to significantly impair a user and lead to drug abuse. As a result, researchers are reluctant to begin definitive studies on marijuana’s long-term medical benefits and side effects.

Marijuana’s dual identity as a legitimate medical treatment and casual psychotropic can lead to significant problems for businesses. Here are some of the marijuana developments over the past year and how they could affect your workplace:

• Growing acceptance— A report from Pew Research found that 62 percent of Americans support marijuana legalization. As a result, customers and job candidates may not be attracted to businesses with strict drug-free policies.

• Opioid epidemic— The widespread and dangerous use of opioids have led many state governments and businesses to consider medical marijuana, which can also relieve pain. However, each state has different regulations for how medical marijuana is paid for and businesses need to examine their local laws.

• Workplace drug screenings— Positive tests for marijuana increased by 4 percent in the general workforce from 2016 to 2017, according to Quest Diagnostics. Positive tests after a workplace incident can be difficult scenarios for employers, since tests can’t accurately determine impairment levels or when the drug was taken.

• Workers’ compensation— Recent court cases have found that employers may have to pay for employees’ medical marijuana through workers’ compensation plans. However, individual states continue to set their own regulations and some may give businesses or insurance carriers the option to provide or deny coverage at their discretion.

Filed under: HR,Property & Casualty — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 5:29 pm January 7, 2019

The WGBCO HR Hotline

WGBCO HR Services are Just a Phone Call Away!

WGBCO is proud to introduce a new HR service to our valued clients: the HR Hotline. The HR Hotline is ready to assist your business by delivering timely, practical advice and sound answers to your specific HR and employment-related questions. Simply call our toll-free hotline number or submit your question by email and one of our experienced, certified HR consultants will provide you with step-by-step guidance to resolve your situation in a lawful, yet sensitive, manner.

An Experienced Team of Certified HR Consultants On-call

The WGBCO HR Hotline, powered by the California Employer’s Association, is your resource where HR consultants answer questions related to a broad range of HR topics, including (but not limited to):
• Employee Relations/Employee Behavioral Issues
• Harassment and Discrimination Allegations
• Discipline and Terminations
• COBRA Compliance
• Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
• Wage and Hour Issues
• Employee Benefits
• Leaves of Absence
• Performance Management

Get Started Today!

The HR Hotline helps you address employment issues before they become expensive problems. You’ll feel confident and secure knowing that HR support is there when you need it the most.

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Please identify yourself as a client of Warren G. Bender Co. when calling.

Filed under: HR — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 5:46 pm September 22, 2017

WGBCO Assistance with Workplace Posters

Warren G. Bender Co. is proud to be a resource for our commercial client’s HR needs. Part of that is providing CA workplace posters, for which we start collecting orders in late August (1st poster is free and each subsequent English poster is at a reduced rate of $15).

The media has been buzzing about minimum wage law changes effective 7/1/17, with some HR vendors pushing for “total poster replacement.” The good news is that you don’t need to purchase a new/updated 2017 poster. In fact, most of our clients don’t need to make any changes at all.

Affected clients are those that have employees in Santa Monica, San Francisco, LA City and County and Emeryville ( Those employers are required (as of 7/1/17) to post the new wage orders next to the existing workplace posters. You can find all of the wage orders on the DIR website ( and of course you can always call our HR hotline for more details.

Filed under: HR — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 4:41 pm June 28, 2017

New Year, New Labor Law: Take Advantage of WGBCO’s HR Services

With each coming year, new regulations and laws are passed; making it almost impossible to stay informed on the ever-changing world of HR. In the beginning of 2016, we decided to offer an exclusive HR service menu to our clients: HR Hotline and HR360

Through the HR Hotline, powered by the California Employers Association, consultants answer questions related to a broad range of topics, including:
•Employee Relations/Employee Behavioral Issues
•Harassment and Discrimination Allegations
•Discipline and Terminations
•COBRA Compliance
•Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
•Wage and Hour Issues
•Employee Benefits
•Leaves of Absence
•Performance Management

We also offer HR360, an HR library and attorney-reviewed source for HR news, tools, forms and training.
Use HR360 for:
•Latest Health Care Reform tools and guidelines
•How to interview, hire and terminate employees
•How to do performance reviews at every level
•Interactive Tools including:
-Job Description Builder
-Salary Benchmarking Tool
-Employee Cost Calculator
•Hundreds of Downloadable Forms and Policies
•Customizable Employee Handbook
•State and federal compliance information
•State labor laws guidance
…and more!

Offering these services to you, our valued clients, is something we take pride in. Advancing beyond the realm of insurance and helping you navigate all risks associated with running a business.

To get started on utilizing these tools, contact WGBCO’s Benefits Service Manager, Erin Ocheltree: or (916) 380-5325

Filed under: HR — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 2:55 pm December 22, 2016

Announcing New HR Services at Warren G. Bender Co.

As your partner in risk management, we at Warren G. Bender Co. are constantly evaluating different resources to best serve our clients. Eight years ago, we improved our Employee Benefits department to help our clients navigate the impending health care reform changes. Five years ago, we brought Alternative Risk Financing (including Captives and Self-Funding) to our clients both in Property and Casualty and Group Benefits, giving them the option to take control of their insurance program financing. Through additional risk gap analyses with our clients, we realized Human Resource (Risk Management) was categorically and universally, a logical next step for WGBCO in serving the needs of our clients.

Employer advocacy and protection has been our focus ever since the days of Warren G. Bender Insurance Agency. When employment rights legislation (and litigation) was in the early stages of its rapid growth, it was a difficult reality for our clients. We recognize that California is a progressive, high-tax, high litigation state to do business in, but it is also hands-down a wonderful state to live in, and we are committed to supporting our fine, local and regional clients, business owner-employers, as they attempt to understand and work with our ever-changing regulation.

Starting in February 2016, we will be proudly running a pilot HR Hotline that will be powered by WGBCO’s longtime strategic partner, the California Employer’s Association (founded in 1937). The CEA has been putting on valuable, timely seminars at our popular “Bender U” classes for years, and now we are taking our relationship to the next level for the benefit of our clients. I will be contacting a grouping of clients over the next week to get them setup with the HR Hotline information. After this 2016 pilot year, we will be able to determine any possible changes or additions to our HR program, and how to offer it to our entire commercial client base.

As a 3rd generation family business, we honor our traditions, and still understand the need to evolve along with our client’s needs. Please let us know if there are any services that you would like to see in the future or if you would like to review our already expansive service offerings. Thank you for your business and the opportunity to serve.

Maggie Bender-Johnson, CIC, MLIS
VP of Operations, Partner
Warren G. Bender Co.

Filed under: HR — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 11:29 pm February 17, 2016