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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 |  Mr. 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 the Managing Partner of Van Dermyden Makus Law Corporation. Eli conducts and manages neutral, unbiased investigations on complex and sensitive matters. He is experienced in all areas of employment law, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, disability accommodations, protected leaves of absence, whistleblower claims, privacy, wage-hour compliance, and reorganizations. His clients include private employers and a variety of public agencies, including state agencies, counties, cities, school districts and special districts throughout California. Eli trains and speaks extensively on conducting workplace investigations. Eli has helped employers implement successful internal investigation programs and trained lawyer and non-lawyer investigators how to conduct thorough, prompt, and impartial workplace investigations.

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). 

Mr. Peter Matukas's Profile

Mr. Peter Matukas


Matukas Workplace Investigations

Peter Matukas is an employment lawyer & external workplace investigator, founder of Matukas Workplace Investigations and is based in Toronto, ON.  Peter has been practicing in the area for over 15 years, joined AWI in 2018 and received the AWI-CH designation in 2018 as well.  Peter regularly presents upon workplace investigations and has authored numerous articles upon workplace investigations.  Peter is currently the convenor of the AWI Toronto Local Circle as well as a co-convenor of the CAWI National Circle for Canada.  Peter is also a member of the AWI Webinars committee.

Ms. Ashwini Kulkarni's Profile

Ms. Ashwini Kulkarni

Law Options, Inc.

Ashwini Kulkarni is a seasoned attorney with a JD equivalent from one of India's premiere law schools, with over 15 years of expertise in corporate law. Previously affiliated with SASHA, where she spearheaded initiatives supporting over 50 workplaces across diverse verticals, specializing in policy formulation, grievance mechanisms, and investigation pertaining to sexual harassment, gender and equality. Prior to relocating to Plesanton, CA, she ran her own law firm, catering to start up legal needs. She is a member of AWI since 2022 and working with Law Options, Inc. as an independent consultant supporting investigative work and employment law related policy making and documentation.