Getting it Right
September 2021 Newsletter
In the news! 

Karen C. Carrera, Esq. is a member of the Association of Workplace Investigators(AWI).
Contact us at or by emailing; 415-989-8000. Interviewed by Telemundo/NBC, Channel 48 on July 23, 2021 to comment on the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees regarding COVID-19 restrictions in the workplace. Click here to watch.

Karen Carrera recipient of the 2021 Spirit of Marin award sponsored by Bank of Marin, recognizing civic and business leaders in Marin County.
Getting it right. The critical importance of accurate translation in workplace investigations and trainings. 

The University of California, Berkeley Labor Center reported in 2019 that, of low-wage workers in California, 53% are Latinx compared to 39% for all workers. Latina women account for 49% of Latinx workers. Of those low-wage workers, it is no surprise that the majority speak Spanish. 

Litigation involving low-wage workers subjects employers to real financial jeopardy, yet employers often disregard the importance of truly understanding the facts of the allegations levied against them by Latino workers because they resist investing in real and accurate translation services.

It behooves employers to retain workplace investigators who do not only understand the language but who also have a deeper understanding of the way language works. Bi-lingual workplace investigators help ensure properly worded and accurate workplace investigation reports. Unfortunately, companies often feel obliged to ask their in-house staff or retain unqualified investigators who fail to offer accurate translation services because it is perceived to be cheaper and easier. Being able to speak two languages is not the same thing as being able to accurately translate sometimes complex, often critical content. The ability to translate is a very distinctive talent that professionals work hard to perfect.

Employers are surprised when facts emerge in litigation involving Latino workers, after paying thousands of dollars for investigation reports, because they (or the investigation firm) did not invest the time and money necessary to fully understand the litigation risk when interviewing Spanish-speaking Latino complainants. 

Even native Spanish speakers who have mastered English may provide more detail if they are given the option to communicate in Spanish with a bilingual workplace investigator. When it comes to interpreting one language into another in the context of drafting a workplace investigation report, the employer should hire an investigator who understands the importance of investing in a proper translation of the facts reported by a Latinx worker with a preference of being interviewed in Spanish.

When the partners with my firm mentor bi-lingual Latino lawyers, we remind them that they are rockstars. Because not only have they passed the bar, like any other lawyer, but they are culturally linked by language to the fastest-growing segment of California's workforce. Today, bilingual lawyers are an economic force and commodity in California.

We catch the tone, inflections, and emotions of the complainant to ensure the message is understood correctly. The real importance of hiring an experienced bi-lingual investigator to work on an investigation involving a Latino worker is most obvious when things go wrong. 

Be careful with investigation firms who do not fold accurate costs for these types of investigations, because it could prove extremely costly for the employer in the long run. Workers who are treated with respect and earn the trust of a bi-lingual workplace investigator will supply more crucial information, resulting in a more accurate investigation report. Employers and workplace investigation firms who cut corners when it comes to translation services do so at great peril. 

Estamos aquí para ayudarlo con investigaciones y capacitaciones! (We are here to help with your workplace investigations and trainings) Visit out website or by emailing; 415-989-8000. Karen Carrera, Esq. is a member of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI). 

Karen Carrera, Esq. is now a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force, Town of Tiburon, appointed by the Tiburon Town Council, June 2021. 

Sexual Harassment & Diversity Trainings for Spanish Speaking Employees

At Villegas Carrera, we have worked with thousands of Spanish-speaking workers working in hundreds of industries. We are uniquely experienced and know this community of workers in California. 

When conducting sexual harassment prevention/abusive conduct/diversity trainings with Spanish-speaking workers here are some do's and don'ts:

  1. It is crucial to speak and understand Spanish fluently;
  2. Have plenty of examples of real-life scenarios pulled from the headlines and previous cases;
  3. Make sure you understand the names, jokes, terms, and slang used in various industries such as food and beverage, housekeeping, construction, etc…; 
  4. Understand the different slang words used by folks from various Latin American countries.

California law requires that companies with five or more employees provide two hours of supervisory training and one hour of staff training every two years on harassment, discrimination, bullying, and retaliation prevention.

Also, agricultural employers must provide this training every year. New supervisors must be trained within six months of starting a supervisory position, and new employees must be trained within six months of hire. Certain types of employers may have different training timing requirements for new hires (e.g., temporary staffing companies).

Villegas Carrera Workplace Solutions offers several training options for your convenience. We are available to train remotely and in person. In addition to our computer-based video programs described on our website at, we are pleased to present several informative and entertaining sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training webinars via Zoom. 

Villegas Carrera Workplace Solutions specializes in Spanish language and bi-lingual trainings with Spanish-speaking employees. Topics covered include the prevention of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and abusive conduct (bullying). Contact us at or by emailing Karen Carrera, Esq. is a member of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI). 
It's stressful out there.

Relaxing the mind

  • Take slow, deep breaths. Or try other breathing exercises for relaxation.
  • Soak in a warm bath.
  • Listen to soothing music.
  • Practice mindful meditation. Focus your attention on things that are happening right now in the present moment.
  • Be still. Listen to your body. Inhale. Listen to your breath. Breathe.
  • Write. Some people feel more relaxed after they write about their feelings. One way is to keep a journal.
  • Use guided imagery. With guided imagery, you imagine yourself in a certain setting that helps you feel calm and relaxed. My favorite spot is just below the Mill Valley Library, by the creek. What's your favorite spot to find your Zen?

Villages Carrera, Inc. Workplace Solutions, provides workplace advice and counsel, trainings and investigations in English and Spanish. Visit us at or email us at  

Karen’s Delicious Latin Kitchen
Caldo de Res
This family recipe is from Northern Mexico. It is the consummate comfort food. A family favorite, we make this delicious soup as a main dish, or as an appetizer if you serve it in small bowls. It is very easy to make and everyone will love it. 
Ingredients (for 8-12 people):
  • 2 pounds beef shank, with bone. This beef choice is key when making Caldo de Res.
  • 2 teaspoons salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (14.5 ounces) can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 5 medium carrots, about 4-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (for the end).
  • 2 turnips, quartered. You can also use potatoes.
  • 2 ears corn, husked and cut into halves
  • 1/2 medium head cabbage, cored and cut into wedges
  • Diced Hatch green chilies, mild. (7oz can)
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges


  1. Cut the meat from the beef bones into about 1/2-inch pieces, leaving some on the bone.
  2. Heat a heavy soup pot over medium-high heat until very hot. Add a teaspoon of vegetable oil, tilting the pan to coat the bottom. Add the meat and bones, and season with salt and pepper. Brown the meat; 4 minutes on each side.
  3. Add 1 onion and cook until the onion is also lightly browned. Stir in the tomatoes and broth, and stewed tomatoes. Fill the pot to ¾ full. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 2 hours with the lid on loosely. 
  4. Add the carrots and turnips/potatoes and corn. Simmer on low another 45 minutes. Push the cabbage wedges into the soup and cook for about 15 minutes. Drop in the cilantro as it cools. Season to taste.
  5. Ladle soup into large bowls, including meat, vegetables, and bones. Garnish with jalapenos, minced onion, and additional cilantro. Squeeze lime juice over soup and serve with radishes.
Villegas Carrera Workplace Solutions specializes in Spanish language and bi-lingual trainings and investigations with Spanish-speaking employees. Topics of trainings include diversity and inclusion, and the prevention of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and abusive conduct (bullying).
Contact us at or by emailing Karen Carrera, Esq. is a member of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI). 
DISCLAIMER: The information you obtain in this newsletter is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for personal legal advice. You should consult with an attorney regarding personal legal advice specific to your own situation. Further, reading, interacting with, or reposting this email or website in any way does not form an attorney-client relationship with Karen Carrera, Esq., or VC Workplace Solutions.