San Diego “America’s
Finest City” Chapter
Volume 6, Issue 3 May / June 2006
Mission Statement: PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE…..
To promote the As we approach the middle of our SDA year, we look back with
exchange of ideas and pride on the accomplishments since January 2006. We have
to educate its members presented quality seminars each month, completed a successful
in the related Canstruciton® competition in March, and participated in the
disciplines of design NewSchool of Architecture and Design Career Fair in April,
firm management. making valuable connections with many of the firms in our area
who have no SDA members (yet!). We have added two new members through the
“Canstruct a Member” program whereby each participating Team is offered a FREE
membership for an administrator in their firm. We would like to thank all of our
members for their contribution in making this year such a success!
We won’t be taking a vacation from SDA during the summer; instead we have two
very special seminars coming up in May and June here in San Diego. Be sure to
review the San Diego Chapter website at www.sdasandiego.com and click on the
Calendar or Seminar sections. PLUS we have the opportunity of attending our
2006 National Convention just a few miles north in Los Angeles headquartered at
the Wilshire Grand Hotel downtown. All information for registration and hotel can
be found on the national SDA website at: www.sdadmin.org. Just click on “Events”
and “Ignite Your Fire Within” at convention. Registration is open until May 26, so
you have just a few days to register. You won’t want to miss the seminars, tours,
and networking that is packed in the four days June 7-10. Register today!! We
have several members going from San Diego, so carpooling and room sharing op-
portunities are definitely available. There’s nothing like attending national conven-
tion where you can meet administrators from all over the U.S. and Canada who
share your same challenges and definitely have solutions to share.
While you are still basking in the afterglow of convention, pack your bags again
when we head for San Diego Chapter’s Big Bear Lake weekend Retreat & Plan-
Inside this issue: ning, where we’ll have our very own spacious cabin (complete with Jacuzzi!) to
share convention stories (or find what you missed if you weren’t able to attend), re-
Employers Can Verify SSN! 2 view 2006, and plan for 2007. It will be a perfect time to get to know each other a
little better and, most importantly, kick back and HAVE FUN!! Mark your calendar
SDA Seminars 3
for July 21-22, 2006. We’ll head up on Friday and come back Saturday afternoon.
Internet Applicants 3 The only cost is $25.00 each to cover the cost of food. So bring your favorite ghost
stories and Smores fixins’ and head to Big Bear!! The San Diego Retreat is open
Employer Liable for Accident 4
to all San Diego SDA Members!
Workers Comp & Company 4
Sponsored Events I look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming seminars, at convention, and
SDA Job Bank 5 our retreat!
Investigating Harassment 5 Betty Connell, SDA/C
Torrey Pines Bank 6 San Diego Chapter President
About SDA 8
VOLUME 6, ISSUE 3 THE ADVANTAGE PAGE 2
New 2006 SDA Members:
Rena Bell with SDSE Engineers
Structural Engineers: www.sdse.com
Teresa DeLeon, SDA with McCullough Landscape Architects
Landscape Architects: www.mlasd.com/
Andrea Lucas with Carrier Johnson
Employers Now Able to Verify that
Social Security Numbers and Names
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has created
an online program called the Social Security Number
Verification System (SSNVS). The only purpose of the
SSNVS is to verify that Social Security numbers and
names that employers have been provided match and
are correct for purposes of completing W-2 forms.
SDA is the foundation for a strong firm. The SSA emphasizes that such verifications can only
occur after an employee has been hired and that the
use of SSNVS is applied to employees consistently. If
the SSA notifies an employer that the name and Social
Security number do not match, rather than taking im-
mediate adverse action, employers are encouraged to
communicate with the employee immediately of the
problem. The SSNVS service is free and employers
From Betty Connell, SDA/C, San Diego may sign up for the service at www.socialsecurity.gov/
Chapter President: bso/bsowelcome.htm.
I want to send out a special “Thank you” to Julie
King, Publication Chair, who put together two sub- What Should You Do?
mittals from our chapter for the SDA “Annual
Awards” in the following categories: “Chapter • Add the SSNVS to your policies to ensure the
Newsletter” and “Web Site.” SSNVS is utilized after hire and to current em-
Julie works tirelessly keeping both of these current • Inform employees through an offer letter that
to keep all our members informed. The SDA N a- after they accept the offer, your company will
tional Awards will be presented during Convention use the SSNVS system.
at the Awards Luncheon, Friday, June 9, 2006, at • Implement the SSNVS verification process in a
the Wilshire Grand in Los Angeles. non-discriminatory manner.
VOLUME 6, ISSUE 3 THE ADVANTAGE PAGE 3
SDA Monthly Seminars
The San Diego Chapter of Society of Design Administration holds monthly meetings focusing
on one of our six PEG’s (Professional Emphasis Groups): Finance, Human Resources,
Marketing, Information Technology, Office Administration, and Project Management.
September 26, 2005—Financial Security
May 24, 2006—CPR Training @ Mission Val- & Retirement Planning @ Platt /
June 7-10, 2006—SDA National Covention October 24, 2005—Network Security @
@ Wilshire Grand Hotel, Los Angeles (for
more information, visit www.sdadmin.org)
November 21, 2005—Marketing for 2006
June 23, 2006—Personalities and How to
@ Mission Valley Resort
Deal With Them @ Mission Valley Resort
January 30, 2006 —Labor Law Changes
July 11, 2006—SDA Board Meeting @ IHOP for 2006 @ Mission Valley Resort
Restaurant, 2169 Fenton Pkwy #108, San Diego
(near IKEA off of Friars) February 27, 2006— AIA Contract Re-
view @ Mission Valley Resort
July 20, 2006—TBA @ Mission Valley Resort
April 21, 2006—Project Phases @
July 21-22, 2006—SDA Retreat Open to All NewSchool of Architecture & Design
members in Big Bear! For more information
please email email@example.com Effective July 2006 All SDA Programs will be held
on the Third Thursday of Each Month.
Federal Contractors and the "Internet Applicant"
The federal Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued new regulations on October 7, 2005
amending federal contractors' recordkeeping requirements for Internet-based job applications and defining "Internet
applicant." These new regulations do not change required practices relating to traditional applicants, meaning those
who are minimally qualified for the opening at issue, have made an expression of interest in the opening through
non-electronic media and were considered for the opening. These new regulations took effect on February 6, 2006.
The definition of Internet applicant determines the size of applicant pools used for adverse impact analysis in con-
nection with affirmative action programs and responsibilities. Therefore, how and when a contractor identifies a per-
son as an "applicant" is significant. The larger the applicant pool, the greater the potential liability.
Contractors are required to solicit race, gender, and ethnicity data from all individuals who meet the definition of
Internet Applicant. Regulations do not specify when during the employment process such information must be solic-
ited. The OFCCP encourages applicant self-identification using tear-off sheets or similar techniques. Recording vi s-
ual observation by a recruiter is permissible when the applicant appears in person and declines to self-identify.
What Should You Do?
• Train human resources and recruitment staff about the new requirements.
• Review and evaluate your recruitment and selection processes to identify how "basic qualifications" are de-
termined for a position and how to evaluate "expressions of interest."
• Establish and strictly follow a practice for accepting applications or "expressions of interest" and consider
excluding all unsolicited resumes.
• Exclude candidates where the "expression of interest" is insufficient, or where the individual removes him-
self or herself from consideration. This includes those with out-of-range pay demands or location limits.
• Apply policies or procedures consistently.
VOLUME 6, ISSUE 3 THE ADVANTAGE PAGE 4
Employer Liability for Accident During Employee’s Personal Time
An employee with implied author- the key shack attendant has the authority to let him
ity to use a company vehicle for use the car. The court also cited to the company's
personal use rear-ended a cou- lack of specific protocol when using company vehi-
ple who suffered injuries from the cles such as a failure to have a system procedure
accident. The couple sued the and policy in place for verification of vehicle use, and
company, and was awarded no review of gas, oil, or mileage usage as indicators
$277,662 in damages. The court that the company's business practice amounted to
determined that the company pol- indifference as to how the vehicles were actually
icy and protocol regarding use of company cars im- used. This indifference creates an inference of per-
plied permission to the employee to use the company mission to use company vehicles for purposes other
car to run a personal errand. As the owner of the ve- than strictly business. Taylor v. Roseville Toyota, Inc.
hicle, the company was found liable for the couple's
What Should You Do?
• Carefully review your employee handbook
The court determined that the employee handbook's with the assistance of legal counsel regarding
lack of specifically addressing the "personal use" of personal use of company property.
company property inferred that the employee, with • Ensure consistent protocol is in place to
authorization, may be able to use company property. monitor the use of company property.
It was therefore reasonable for Mr. Lewis to believe
• Train all employees in the appropriate use of
Workers Compensation & Team Sponsored Sports and Events
This is a good time to review when a sports injury may become a workers' compensation claim.
Usually, an injury during a company team sporting event does not qualify for workers comp if it
occurs during voluntary participation in an off-duty recreational, social, or athletic activity that is
not part of the employee's work-related duties. However, it may if these activities are a reason-
able expected, or are expressly or impliedly required by, the employment.
The court found little evidence that a police officer subjectively believed that his employer ex-
pected him to engage in an occasional pickup game of basketball. The record establishes only
his belief that it was a good idea for a police officer to stay in good physical condition. His leap
to a conclusion that any physical activity in which an officer chooses to engage must be covered by workers' compen-
sation was unfounded.
General assertions that it would benefit the employer for, or even that the employer expects, an employee to stay in
good physical condition are not sufficient to require workers' compensation for injuries suffered during any recreational
or athletic activity in which the employee chooses to participate. City of Stockton v. WCAB
So what can you do to protect your company and your work-
Make sure that the invitation to play in a company sponsored social
event or activity is purely voluntary and the employee is not obli-
gated. If your company sponsors a team, specify that no employ-
ees are obligated to participate and that representing the company
in this activity is outside of their normal work obligations. Lastly,
have employees who participate in such activities sign a written re-
lease holding the company harmless for injuries that happen as a
result of such activities.
VOLUME 6, ISSUE 3 THE ADVANTAGE PAGE 5
SDA JOB BANK ANNOUNCEMENTS
SDA Job Bank
$40 per ad (FREE to member firms)
UNLIMITED COPY & WE
Receptionist – Fulltime Position
RUN IT TILL IT’S FILLED!
To place an ad email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
RJC Architects, located in the Bankers
Hill area is looking for a F/T Receptionist.
Must be organized, self-motivated,
friendly, and have a professional appear- Accountant
Design firm seeks FT/Accountant w/min. 10
Must be able to accomplish multiple tasks yrs. Experience. Proficient in MS Office.
simultaneously and meet deadlines with Knowledge of Deltek/Advantage a plus.
minimal supervision. Ability to interact Some admin. Duties required.
positively with employees, principals, cli-
ents, and consultants required. Ability to Submit resume w/sal. Requirements to Archi-
learn quickly required. Minimum three tects MDWF Fax (619) 223-3017 or
years experience professional office re- email@example.com
quired. Must be proficient in Word, Excel,
Receptionist – Fulltime Position
We offer competitive salaries and excel-
lent benefits including: two weeks vaca- Architectural firm. Word, Excel, multi-line
tion, five days personal time, and holiday phones, filling & proofreading skills re-
time; 401k with match; profit sharing; paid quired. Detail oriented with professional
medical, dental, life & Ltd appearance, friendly attitude & phone
Fax resume with cover letter and salary
history to 619-239-9852 or email to Fax resume with salary requirements to
firstname.lastname@example.org (858) 695-8922 or email: sledrew@a-
Investigating Harassment Claims
In a recent decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that an employer who fails to investi-
gate a sexual harassment complaint may be excused if the complaining employee expresses the desire
to handle the situation on his or her own and fails to provide management with more than vague allega-
tions of unwelcome conduct.
The Court decided that the employer had not acted unreasonably under the circumstances. It excused
the employer’s failure to conduct an investigation because the complaining employee wanted to deal
with the situation on his own and did not provide sufficient details about the unwanted conduct to im-
pose upon the employer the duty to investigate. Hardage v CBS Broadcasting, Inc.
VOLUME 6, ISSUE 3 THE ADVANTAGE PAGE 6
FOR DESIGN ADMINISTR ATION
SAN DIEGO “AMERICA’S FINEST CITY” CHAPTER Advertising Space Available
TO PROMOTE THE EXCHANGE $40 per issue
OF IDEAS AND TO EDUCATE
For details contact:
ITS MEMBERS IN THE RELATED Julie King at 619- 239-9292
San Diego Chapter DISCIPLINES OF DESIGN FIRM
PO Box 262436 ADMINISTRATION.
San Diego, CA 92196
Betty Connell, President
2005-2006 Board of Directors:
• President: Betty Connell, SDA/C: Island Architects
• Vice President: Sher Prince, SDA: Maple Dell McClelland
• Treasurer: Janice Borawski, SDA: Platt Whitelaw Architects
• Secretary: Jamie Shirey, SDA: Administrative Consultant
An Affiliate of the American Institute of Architects
• Bylaws: BOD + Julie King
• Programs: BOD + Vivian Dickerson, SDSE + Leslie Gurney,
We’re on the Web! • Publications: Julie M. King, RJC Architects
www.sdasandiego.com • Public Relations / Historian: Jacqueline Jones, SDA
• Membership: Vivi an Dickerson, SDA
Why should you join SDA?
In today’s business environment it takes more than the American Institute of Architects and other in-
great design to have a successful practice. Archi- dustry organizations to assure that design firms
tects, engineers, interior designers, and other de- have access to the best management tools. If you
sign professionals and their office administrators believe that an administrator can make a real differ-
need to be educated and continually updated on all ence to a firm's success, then membership in the
facets of business management: human resources, Society for Design Administration should be a high
financial services, contract administration, risk man- priority.
agement, computer applications and
office operations. The stakes are too SDA's wide range of programs and
high and the consequences too costly services is designed to help adminis-
to leave these business essentials to trators make an even greater differ-
chance. ence. By joining SDA, administrators
become part of a dynamic organization
Design firm management has never respected for its quality workshops,
been more complicated. Or more chal- seminars, publications, and a national
lenging. With technological innovations, SDA is the foundation for a strong network committed to upgrading de-
budget constraints, rising health care firm. sign firm management services. With
costs, and the litigious society we live SDA's resources, members find the
in, each and every design firm administrator is in- right solutions to management problems, learn
creasingly called upon to make educated decisions about upcoming trends and leading edge develop-
and deal with continual change. ments, and acquire skills for future responsibilities.
SDA is dedicated to the continuing education of de- For membership information, please visit our web-
sign firm management personnel, partnering with site at www.sdasandiego.com