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On Demand

Updates from California: Cutting Edge Issues in Workplace Investigations

Credit Available - See Credits tab below.

Internal Investigators |  External Investigators
Amy J Oppenheimer |  Eli Makus |  Karen Kramer |  Peter Matukas |  Ms. Ashwini Kulkarni
90 minutes
Audio and Video
Original Program Date:
Nov 14, 2023
Never expires.


Session Description:

A variety of fascinating legal issues arose in California during 2023 that promise to reverberate across the workplace investigation industry in coming years. Join past AWI presidents Amy Oppenheimer and Karen Kramer and current AWI President Eli Makus for a robust discussion on these essential topics. Specifically, the webinar will discuss the following developments:

  1. Enforcement efforts under California’s Private Investigator Act, which impact licensed attorneys and licensed private investigators
  2. Challenges during litigation discovery to attorney-client relationships; attorney-client privilege; and work product doctrine
  3. Recent challenges to investigator independence

Recent case law suggesting third-party employer agents can share in liability for underlying employment disputes

Learning Objectives: 

Through attending this session, participants will understand the following topics and be able to apply this knowledge to their investigative practice: 

  • Identify and explain recent legal developments;
  • Understand the potential impacts and risks for external investigation practices; and
  • Implement practical tips to preserve investigator independence, maintain appropriate privilege and work product doctrines, and more.


The contents of this webinar and the positions taken are those of the presenter only, may be time sensitive, and are not warranted, endorsed or otherwise recommended by AWI and are not intended to provide legal advice. 



SHRM PDCs: 1.5


California MCLEs: 1.5



Amy J Oppenheimer's Profile

Amy J Oppenheimer

Oppenheimer Investigations Group LLP

Amy Oppenheimer is the founding partner of Oppenheimer Investigations Group LLP, a California law firm that focuses on conducting impartial investigations. Amy also led the founding of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI) in 2009, helped develop the association’s curriculum and served as Chair of its Institute for several years. In addition to conducting investigations, Amy is a trainer, mediator, and coach. She is also a retired Administrative Law Judge for the State of California.

Eli Makus's Profile

Eli Makus

Senior Partner

Van Dermyden Makus Law Corporation

Eli Makus, AWI-CH is an employment attorney whose practice is focused on conducting impartial workplace investigations. Eli is the Managing Partner of Van Dermyden Makus Law Corporation. With more than twenty attorneys, Van Dermyden Makus is one of the largest law firms in the country devoted to providing neutral legal services, including conducting workplace investigations. Drawing upon his extensive employment law background, Eli conducts complex and sensitive investigations involving a variety of workplace complaints for public and private employers throughout California. Eli regularly trains on employment law topics, including training internal and external investigators on how to conduct impartial workplace investigations. Prior to focusing on workplace investigations, Eli served as in-house employment and medical staff counsel for a large healthcare provider. There, in addition to providing employment law advice and counsel, he conducted and supervised investigations and helped develop an internal investigations program. Before that, he worked for a large Northern California law firm representing employers in a variety of employment law matters.  Eli is the President for the AWI Board of Directors and regularly serves as Faculty for AWI’s Training Institute. Eli earned his law degree from King Hall School of Law at the University of California, Davis.

Karen Kramer's Profile

Karen Kramer

Kramer Workplace Investigations

Karen Kramer, AWI-CH is an employment law attorney specializing in workplace investigations. Since forming Kramer-Wiese (now Kramer Workplace Investigations) in 2000, Karen’s practice focuses primarily on conducting personnel investigations involving allegations of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, as well as misconduct and disciplinary matters. Karen has conducted over 1000 workplace investigations for public agencies, and is well versed in the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights and the Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights. Many of these investigations involved complex and high-profile issues involving high level public employees and elected officials. Additionally, Karen has been deposed on approximately 10 occasions and has testified during administrative proceedings regarding investigations she conducted.? Karen is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine (1989) and University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law (1992). 

Peter Matukas's Profile

Peter Matukas


Turnpenney Milne LLP

Ms. Ashwini Kulkarni

Law Options, Inc.