PIHRA 2019 Legal Update Speaker Spotlight: Ryan Nell

PIHRA 2019 Legal Update Speaker Spotlight: Ryan Nell



The second of our four 2019 employment seminars starts this Wednesday, January 16, 8am at the Riverside Convention Center (you might be able to get a seat still, but when this post was published there were less than 15 seats left, so register here, but you better act fast!)

This Speaker Spotlight interview series is so much fun – talking to these employment law experts about the most pressing topics of this year offers a valuable preview of what you’ll experience at every one of our Legal Update seminars. In this case, the topic is marijuana in the workplace, something everyone wants to know more about. Read below what Ryan says you should concern yourself with the most this year and keep and eye out for more Legal Update speaker spotlights. If you’re not already registered to attend the PIHRA 2019 Legal Update, tickets for Riverside, Burbank and La Jolla are still available, but they’re almost gone!

Ryan Nell, Shareholder/Employment Attorney, Pettit Kohn Ingrassia Lutz & Dolin

Topic: Marijuana in the Workplace in California

Ryan H. Nell is an employment attorney responsible for representing California employers statewide in both counseling and comprehensive litigation support. With the ever-changing landscape of California and federal employment law, Ryan prides himself on assisting clients in staying ahead of the curve in an effort to avoid legal trouble before it arises. He has extensive experience representing clients in harassment, retaliation, and discrimination matters, as well as large-scale wage and hour lawsuits.

Ryan speaks regularly on a wide range of topics aimed at assisting California employers in the avoidance of legal trouble before it arises, and his work in the field has led to his recognition as a Rising Star by San Diego Super Lawyers®.

PIHRA: What should HR professionals be most concerned with in 2019?

Ryan Nell: The disconnect between the legalization of marijuana at the state level compared to its (still) illegal characterization at the federal level means that California employers are often forced to balance the competing impacts of state and federal law. As the gap in policies continues to grow, California employers will be forced to walk a narrowing tightrope to maintain legal compliance.

PIHRA: What do you predict will be the most common mistake HR makes in 2019?

RN: Employers are often quick to rely on “the way we used to do things” as a justification for current and future performance. Particularly in an area like marijuana in the workplace, a strict adherence to the old guard is an easy way to frustrate well performing employees or, even worse, run afoul of the law.

PIHRA: What can Southern California HR professionals do now to ensure they avoid litigation later in the year?

RN: Attend #pihraLU19, of course. Beyond that, Southern California HR professionals need to continue to keep an eye on California employment law updates. Each year sees a large amount of new legislation and case law that can present stumbling blocks for HR professionals. The best ones are those that are able to stay on top of legal changes and be proactive rather than reactive.

PIHRA: What new employment laws for 2019 are you most excited to see have a positive impact in the workplace?

RN: The enactment of legislation requiring “all hands” harassment prevention training appears primed to have the impact of better educating California employees about their rights and obligations in the workforce.

PIHRA: What are you most excited about at the PIHRA 2019 Legal Update?

RN: Interacting with attendees and fellow presenters between sessions. While attorneys are in the presentation spotlight, #pihraLU19 is attended by hundreds of seasoned HR professionals, each of whom has a vast realm of experience and insight to share.

PIHRA: What’s one reason why HR professionals shouldn’t miss your #pihraLU19 session?

RN: The handling of marijuana in the workplace is as nuanced as it is topical. Employees around the state are asking questions about their rights, and their employers need to be prepared to provide thoughtful, well-reasoned, and legally compliant responses.

PIHRA: What’s one thing HR professionals will be surprised to hear in your session?

RN: HR professionals may be surprised to hear that, even with the recent legalization of marijuana for recreational use, not much has changed with regard to California employers’ obligations…yet. With the way changes are being made, however, employers will want to engage in a discussion about best practices for remaining at the cutting edge of policy change before old policies become outdated ones.

PIHRA: How many years have you (or your law firm) been a member/speaker/sponsor with PIHRA?

RN: This is my first time presenting at a PIHRA event, but several of our Pettit Kohn attorneys have been PIHRA members for several years. I look forward to becoming more involved in such a strong (and growing) organization moving forward.

PIHRA: What makes PIHRA a valuable resource in Southern California?

RN: California employment law is complex and constantly changing. PIHRA’s ability to provide resources and prepare events like #pihraLU19 on the topics that are most important to employers is invaluable to employers looking to avoid legal trouble.

Don’t miss Ryan’s presentation at all of our Legal Update locations. Register today!


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