June 2008

In This Edition

By Anthony Dix, SPHR, MBA,
GMA SHRM President

GMA SHRM Board of Directors

EEOC and FMLA Updates

- By Bob Gregg, Boardman Law Firm

Don't Miss This! - Trends in Reward Program Management
- By Mark D. Aulik

A Fresh Look at Religious Discrimination in the Workplace
- By Linda J. Russell, HR Director , The Management Association

Is Diversity Cultivated in Your Workplace?
Nominate an Organization for the Workplace Diversity Award

- GMA SHRM LocalNet - Your Best Resource for Local HR Networking
- By Dave Furlan, PHR, Co-Chair of the GMA SHRM Marketing and Communications Committee

- 2008 WISHRM State Conference - Registration and Sponsorship Information

- Welcome New Members

- What's Cool in HR

- In Transition

- Movin' Up

Click here to see the full GMA SHRM Event Calendar.

- June 13, 2008 - GMA SHRM Strategic Planning Session

- June 17, 2008 - My GMA SHRM Toolbox - Trends in Reward Program Management

Printable version


































Anthony Dix , SPHR , MBA
GMA SHRM President
2008 Corporate Partners

Boardman Law Firm
Lee Hecht Harrison
Melli, Walker, Pease & Ruhly, S.C.

Fidelitec, LLC
Physicians Plus Insurance Corporation
Right Management
UW Credit Union

Career Momentum
Edgewood College
Neider & Boucher, S.C.
Payroll Data Services
QBE Regional Insurance
Stark Company Realtors

Thank you!

On May 13, the Greater Madison Area SHRM Chapter hosted their 3rd Annual Human Capital Conference. For those who attended, I hope you found the conference worthwhile in terms of learning and networking. I don’t think anyone could argue what a great value the local conference was and I hope those of you who were unable to attend this year will consider joining us next year. I would like to once again recognize the hard work that the Conference Committee put into planning and producing the event. Special thanks to Vicki Kampmeier for leading this committee and those who served with her: Kari Lauritsen, Kim Gethers, Sharon Harkins, Courtney Davidson, and Morgan Data.

As I am nearing the end of my term as President for GMA SHRM, I would like to thank all of you for your support and encouragement. Looking back on the past year, our chapter has accomplished a great deal will continue to do so as we move into the future.

As to the future for the chapter, GMA SHRM will continue to develop services that will benefit the membership as a whole. Under the leadership of our incoming President, Cassy Van Dyke, SPHR, I expect you will see an emphasis on membership satisfaction and engagement along with sustaining our ability to change and grow as a Chapter. Cassy brings with her a lot of enthusiasm and a sincere commitment to making a difference in the profession and to the Chapter.

In closing, I would like to recognize my fellow Board Members, our many volunteer leaders and committee members, and our Chapter Administrative team for making this year such a wonderful experience. We have worked together to support our members and in the process developed close friendships with each other. I appreciate the opportunity that you, as GMA SHRM members, gave me to serve as your Chapter President. It was an experience I will never forget.

Thank you and have a great summer!


Anthony Dix, SPHR, MBA
GMA SHRM President

GMA SHRM Board of Directors

Anthony Dix

Cassy Van Dyke
President Elect

Sue Estes
Past President

Chris Berg Thacker
Secretary Treasurer

Kris Schmitt
VP, Membership

Kari Lauritsen
VP, Programming

Mike Leibundgut
Director, Marketing & Communications

John Komosa
Director, Education & Development

Additional information, including board contact information can be viewed at: http://www.gmashrm.org/website/leaders.shtml.

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EEOC and FMLA Updates
- By Bob Gregg, Partner, Boardman Law Firm

Senate takes away EEOC funds for English-only national origin discrimination enforcement
The U.S. Senate approved a budget resolution to take away funds the EEOC is using to sue employers that have English-only workplace policies. This can be a form of national origin discrimination if the policies are not job-related (i.e., the case in which employees were not allowed to call home during breaks or lunch to speak with their own family members on their own cell phones in any language but English.) The sponsor of the resolution, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R. Tenn), considers such EEOC enforcement actions to be anti-American. Both Republicans and Democrats voted for the resolution, which passed 54-44.

Retaliation charges hit record level
The EEOC reports that in 2007 there was a 9% increase in overall discrimination charges. Retaliation charges reached an all-time record of 26,663 and were the second highest category overall. Race discrimination cases were number one. Sex discrimination was number three, with 16% filed by men.

Concurrent count of FMLA and Workers Compensation
In Dotson v. BRP US, Inc. (7th Cir., 2008), the court verified that an employer may count time off under Workers Compensation as FMLA leave as well. Once the FMLA time expires, there is no prohibition against replacing the employee (though most state Workers Compensation rules do require reinstatement once the employee does eventually recuperate). The court held that the key to doing this is a clear statement about concurrent FMLA-WC leave in the employee handbook, and written notice to the individual employee at the time the leave is being taken.

Bob Gregg , a partner at the Boardman Law Firm in Madison, Wisconsin, has been professionally involved in Employment Relations and Civil Rights work for more than 30 years. He litigates employment cases. A recognized educator and trainer, Bob has conducted over 2,000 seminars throughout the United States and authored numerous articles on practical employment issues.

The opinions expressed or implied are those of the author and may not represent the official position of GMASHRM. This article is intended for general information purposes and highlights developments in the legal area. This article does not constitute legal advice. The reader should consult legal counsel to determine how this information applies to any specific situation.

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Don’t Miss This! - Trends in Reward Program Management
By Mark D. Aulik

The June HR Toolbox will showcase recent research conducted by Hay Group in conjunction with WorldatWork and Loyola University of Chicago associated with common practices and best practices in the area of compensation, including:

  • base compensation,
  • variable pay,
  • fiscal management of pay and
  • linkage to performance management.

The focus will be on what most admired companies are doing and what they avoid. Participants will learn the answers to:

  • How much should a company communicate? How much is enough and how much is too much?
  • How do the most admired manage base pay differently than their peers and how do they differentiate pay?
  • How do the most admired companies manage and communicate their incentive plans? What sets them apart from their peers?

What: Trends in Reward Program Management
When: June 17 th 8:30-10:00 am
Where: City Center West, - 525 Junction Road, Madison, WI

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A Fresh Look at Religious Discrimination in the Workplace
Linda J. Russell, HR Director , The Management Association

In recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of religious discrimination claims—claims of harassment based upon religious beliefs, claims of failure to provide accommodation for people to practice their religion, etc. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that in a 10-year span of time claims of religious discrimination have increased almost 49 percent. In 2006, employers paid in excess of $5.5 million to resolve religious discrimination claims. That number does not include employers’ costs to defend their practices.

In the employment context, harassment based on religion is similar to sexual harassment. An employer must take steps to prevent all types of harassment, including religious harassment. Employers are required to have an effective anti-harassment policy and an effective procedure for reporting, investigating, and resolving complaints. In addition, employers may not permit retaliation against the complaining employee.

Employers have an obligation to accommodate employees when they request an accommodation based on their religious beliefs. The EEOC states in its interpretive manual that Title VII protects a religious belief, whether mainstream on not, if practices or beliefs are “moral or ethical beliefs as to what is right and wrong which are sincerely held with the strength of traditional religious views.”

In order to prevail, an employee has to prove:

  1. He or she has a bona fide religious belief that conflicts with an employment requirement;
  2. The employer was made aware of the conflict; and
  3. The employee suffered an adverse action for not meeting the employment requirement.

If these three elements are present, in order to avoid liability, the employer must show that:

  1. It offered a reasonable accommodation; or
  2. There was no reasonable accommodation available that would not cause an undue hardship for the employer.

Currently, what constitutes “undue hardship” in religious discrimination cases is different from other types of discrimination. According to the EEOC, undue hardship exists in a religious accommodation matter “ if accommodating an employee's religious practices requires more than ordinary administrative costs, diminishes efficiency in other jobs, infringes on other employees' job rights or benefits, impairs workplace safety, causes co-workers to carry the accommodated employee's share of potentially hazardous or burdensome work, or if the proposed accommodation conflicts with another law or regulation.” Compare this with the obligation to accommodate under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires employers to take many of these actions to reasonably accommodate a disabled individual.

Consider these examples of real situations that may (or may not) have resulted in employer liability.

  • A salesman asks for a morning off to participate in the conversion ceremony of his wife to Judaism. The day coincides with the biggest sale of the year and the employer refuses to grant the request.
  • A Rastafarian refuses to cut his dreadlocks even when his supervisor tells him they violate the dress code contained in the employee handbook.
  • A Muslim employee requests frequent breaks from his position on the assembly line to pray.
  • A librarian who is a Christian, requests Sundays off to practice her faith.
  • A chemical company’s safety policy requires that a mask be worn where a tight seal can be formed on the face of any employee(s) working in an area where there may be potentially hazardous fumes. A bearded employee refuses to shave his beard and states he must be allowed to keep his beard as an accommodation for his religious beliefs.
  • A custodian, who is a Jehovah’s Witness, refuses to set up tables and chairs for a Christmas celebration, claiming his religion prohibits him from participating in Christmas or other “pagan” holiday celebrations.
  • A female cashier refuses to remove her facial piercings, which were in violation of the company’s dress code policy. She is a member of the Church of Body Modifications and demands the company accommodate her religious beliefs by allowing her to wear her facial piercings.

Linda Russell is the HR Director for MRA. Linda brings more than 30 years of HR experience, working with companies of all sizes, and in many different industries. Linda focuses on helping companies to streamline, organize, strategize, ensure equity, and enhance the overall impact of the HR function. Web: www.mranet.org.

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Is Diversity Cultivated in Your Workplace?
Nominate an organization for the Workplace Diversity Award
Sponsored by the Wisconsin-SHRM Workplace Diversity Advocate – Wisconsin State SHRM Council

This award is presented in order to recognize those organizations and/or companies who foster an inclusive work environment in which all employees are inspired to contribute their best through their different perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences. Award an organization who has been a role model in their local community as a strong advocate for diversity. This award will be based on organizational achievements. The Workplace Diversity Award is presented to the recipient at our Wisconsin State SHRM Conference that is being held October 15-17, 2008, in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Who is eligible ?
Organization/company nominated for this award should:

  • Have displayed diversity in their local community.
  • Be a role model for others in their advocacy of diversity.
  • Have demonstrated leadership in championing the cause of racial, cultural, ethnic, linguistic, and other aspects of diversity within the human resources profession and community.
  • Be an organization, company, or division of an organization/company that is based in the State of Wisconsin.

Who can nominate?

  • Nominations may be submitted by a member of the Wisconsin State Council of SHRM (e.g., SHRM Chapter Presidents, Functional Directors, Regional Directors, or Officers)
  • Nominations may also be submitted by a Chapter Diversity Advocate/Chair from a Wisconsin SHRM Chapter (Local Chapter Members and Chapter Board Members may prepare nominations for submission by their SHRM Chapter President or Chapter Diversity Advocate/Chair).
  • An organization can self-nominate by submitting the application to the board of their local chapter or directly to the Wisconsin State Council Diversity Director.

Click here for complete nomination information and application!

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GMA SHRM LocalNet – Your Best Resource for Local HR Networking
Dave Furlan, PHR, Co-Chair of the Marketing & Communications SHRM Committee

The GMA SHRM Human Capital Conference on May 13 repeated its success as a chapter event offering great learning and networking opportunities. The Breakfast Keynote speaker, Paul Wesselman, was especially engaging as he addressed the topic of “Extreme Connections” and the value of networking. The topic is a timely reminder of the value of one of the best resources for networking on a local level – your GMA SHRM LocalNet.

LocalNet is a list of GMA SHRM members, by topic area, who are willing to offer their HR experience with other members. For example, are you considering a 401(k) plan and do not know where to begin? Do you want to conduct an attitude survey of your employees, but need to know what pitfalls to avoid? By connecting with another member through GMA SHRM LocalNet, you can answer many of your questions and expand your HR network at the same time.

The chapter also strongly encourages all members to volunteer as a peer resource by selecting the topic areas where you have some experience and can answer another member’s question. You don’t need to worry about being an expert and having all the answers to become a peer resource. As we all know, especially in HR, sometimes it’s just helpful to have two heads work together on a problem instead of going it alone.

However, if you have quite a bit of experience in a certain functional area (compensation, recruitment, training, etc.), you can also sign up to be a LocalNet media contact by clicking the box at the bottom of topics available under the functional area. By serving as a media contact, the chapter can send media inquiries about HR topics to you as a representative of GMA SHRM.

LocalNet is a members-only benefit. To access the network, you will need to login to the GMA SHRM site. Simply click the Login button on the upper right corner of the home page and then once logged in, click on the LocalNet on the left menu bar.

So, check out LocalNet today! You’ll be surprised how you can “link in” to many connections right here with your local Madison area SHRM chapter.

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2008 WISHRM State Conference - October 15, 16 & 17, 2008

Looking for a way to reach more than 700 Wisconsin HR Professionals?
Linda Johanek and Stacey Riechers, Sponsorship Co-Chairs for Wisconsin State Conference Planning Committee. Emails: lindaj@denmarkstate.com and stacey.riechers@ExpressPros.com

Consider sponsoring at the 2008 Wisconsin State SHRM Conference! There are a variety of sponsorships opportunities still available for the state conference, which will take place in Green Bay October 15-17, 2008. Sponsoring is a great opportunity to maximize your firm's exposure at the conference while demonstrating commitment to the HR profession. Sponsorship packages range from $500 to $10,000, with higher levels waiving booth and advertising costs. Our sponsors are also rewarded with preferred placement in the exhibit hall in addition to other recognition opportunities throughout the conference. Detailed information is located at Wisconsin SHRM website: www.wishrm.org/conference and click on the Sponsorship link.


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Welcome New Members

GMA SHRM welcomes the following members who joined our chapter in March 2008.

Sarah Bownds

HR Coordinator


Christine Brinkley

Executive Director of HR

Third Wave Technologies

Greg A. Brockwell

HR Manager


Merodee J. Buechner

Operations Manager

Midwest Prototyping LLC

Melissa T. Carver

Associate Consultant

The QTI Group

Joseph C. D'Costa


Wisconsin Div. of Vocational Rehab

Jim A. Denholm

HR Manager

CUNA Mutual

Laura E. Fisk

Vice President

Fixation, Inc

Michael P. Gallagher


Melli, Walker, Pease & Ruhly, S.C.

Lindsay Garbacz


Edgewood College

Abby Giese

HR Coordinator

Trek Bicycles

Ed Hooke

Human Resources Director

Timber-lee Christian Center

Deb A. Jafolla-Ponzio

Business Development Manager

Restanio & Associates

Allison A. Lansing

HR Manager

The Doubletree Hotel

Shana L. Longley

HR Assistant

Telephone and Data Systems

Jill M. Nowicki, PHR

Talent Manager

Thermo Fisher Scientific

Teresa Pellitteri


Legislative Technology Services Bureau

Ann M. Raschein, PHR

Human Resources Generalist

Summit Credit Union

Amy J. Shaffer

Supervisor, Patient Accounts

UW Hospital & Clinics

Susan A. Shands

Director of Monastery Administration

Benedictine Women of Madison, Inc

Beth Szalkucki


MSA Professional Services, Inc.

Bridget M. Travnick

HR Manager

Four Lakes Colorgraphics

Laura A. Weinman

HR Coordinator

John Deere Credit

Judy A. Zimmer

Sr. Account Executive

Mortenson, Matzelle & Meldrum


What’s Cool in HR in the Greater Madison Area?

What’s going on in HR in your workplace?

Have you…

  • completed a major project,
  • implemented something new,
  • managed a change,

Is there something…

  • your company/dept does really well,
  • interesting about your company culture
  • that makes your company an employer of choice

We want to hear about it! Share it with your HR colleagues in HR InTouch. Send us an e-mail


In Transition

If you are a member who is in between jobs, or who is currently employed but seeking new positions or career paths, write us a brief description of your skill set, areas of expertise, what you’re looking for, etc . . Send us an e-mail. We’ll publish your information in the next HR InTouch.

Movin' Up

Have you started with a new company? Has your organization recently promoted you to a new position? Or do you want to recognize a new person or promotion within your department? If so, we want to hear about it. Send us an e-mail, and we’ll publish your good news in the next HR InTouch!

HR InTouch Guidelines

Article Writing:

Do you have an interest in writing for the HR InTouch? We have an interest in learning more about your area of expertise!

Why should you volunteer? Top three reasons: 1) to share your knowledge and experiences to educate others; 2) to become more connected in the HR and Dane County communities; and 3) to contribute towards the advancement of GMA SHRM and the HR profession.

The first step is for you to choose a submission option: you can pre-submit an article to GMA SHRM at any time for us to use in any of the upcoming newsletters, you can sign up to write for a particular month, or we can put you on a list of people to contact in future months whenever we need articles.

Article length:

Because the HR InTouch is now in an online format, the size is flexible. The article should be engaging and hold readers’ attention. Include the core information in your article, and we will advise if it is too lengthy.


GMA SHRM is conscious not to allow solicitation through the articles, in an effort to protect the interests of our partners and members. The nature of the article should be educational (i.e., what are the business advantages of having a product like yours) or informational. Otherwise, if you truly are interested in advertising through the HR InTouch, you can work with our Marketing Committee. As a rule of thumb for article writing, if the submission relates to a for-profit event, or specifically markets your company (vs. your industry), it is an advertisement, and should be purchased. If it is a not-for-profit event that your company is hosting, or an announcement (i.e., a SHRM member recently joined your company), it is an acceptable addition to the HR InTouch content. If you have any questions related to the appropriateness of your submission, please contact us.

If you have questions, or to submit an article, contact GMA SHRM at chapteradmin@gmashrm.org .










Greater Madison Area SHRM, Inc.
2830 Agriculture Dr.
Madison, WI 53718
(608) 204-9814
fax: (608) 204-9818
Web: http://www.gmashrm.org/

© 2004; Greater Madison Area SHRM, Inc. All rights reserved.