September 2009


In This Edition

By Kari Lauritsen, SPHR,
GMA SHRM President

Bizarre Laws: Watch that Fire

September 15, 2009 GMA SHRM Summit: Employment Law Update

Status of the 2009 Healthy Families Act
- Contributed by Tammy Barden, WPS Health Insurance

Case Study - "I Can't Drive, So I'm Disabled"
- Contributed by Mike Leibundgut, Director, GMA SHRM Government Affairs

2009 GMA SHRM Compensation Survey

Interested in career possibilities for you or have an HR opening in your company?


Community Events
- 2009 ATHENA Young Professionals Award

Profile Updates

GMA SHRM Member of the Month
- Kristina Kaker

- Volunteer Opportunity

- Welcome New Members!

- In Transition

- What's Cool in HR

- Movin' Up

Click here to see the full GMA SHRM Event Calendar.

September 15, 2009 - GMA SHRM Summit

Topic: Employment Law Update
Location: Alliant Energy Center
Program Details
This program is sponsored by GMA SHRM Gold Partner - The Payroll Company

October 20, 2009 - My GMA SHRM Toolbox

Topic: Super sleuth techniques for recruiting in new markets or for unfamiliar roles.
Location: City Center West
Program Details




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2009 Corporate Partners

Boardman Law Firm
Galaxy Technologies
The Payroll Company

Hays Companies
Lee Hecht Harrison
Physicians Plus Insurance Corporation
Virchow Krause Employee Benefits

Melli Law, S.C.
Bunbury & Associates
Career Momentum
Stark Company Realtors
Gardner & White
Higgins Insurance Group
Liberty Mutual
The Alliance

Thank you!

Kari Lauritsen, SPHR,
GMA SHRM President


On August 5 th and 6 th I had the opportunity to attend the State Leadership Conference with four of my fellow board members. It is one of many developmental opportunities GMA SHRM offers board members throughout the year. The conference allows time for personal development, networking and the opportunity for us to gather best practices from other Wisconsin SHRM Chapters.

I asked each of our board members that attended to provide a brief summary of their experiences:

“I have had many opportunities over the years to work with many of the professional leaders within our chapter and the state council.  The State Leadership Conference, however, provided me a chance to interact with our student chapter leaders as well.  If we are pleased with our progress in advancing our profession and chapter over the past several years, then I can say our future looks very bright.  The student chapter leaders I spoke with are smart and understand how to bring the value of HR to every organization.  With that in mind, I am very excited about what they will bring to SHRM once they become the next generation of leaders.  The experience has taught me the value of our past efforts to work with student chapters and to continue to do so going forward.”

David Furlan- President Elect

“After attending the 2009 Wisconsin State SHRM Leadership Conference, I came away feeling a great appreciation for what a difference the organization makes to our local corporations and the community! One thing that really stood out was a presentation by Michael Layman -Manager, Employment & Labor for SHRM's Legislative Affairs. Michael walked the conference participants through legislation that is currently being considered and the details behind the possible outcomes if put into law. He (SHRM) predicted that our 111th Congress will have the most active HR public policy agenda in 30 years. What a crucial time to be affiliated and active in our SHRM chapter! Simply being on top of these changes from day-to-day and being part of these discussions that could educate and influence our law makers is vital. Additionally, I enjoyed and took away many ideas on rapidly changing social media.”

Jake Siudzinski Vice President of Communications & Marketing

“First and foremost, I was able to meet Tami Nielson from the State SHRM board. She's the Representative for the Government Affairs group. I now can contact her if needed for additional guidance or questions. When it comes to the programming, I really enjoyed the Social Media presentation - it opened my eyes to the various methods professionals and the public are using to communicate. I found it a little intimidating to realize how out of touch I am with most of these tools and the potential they could have for our chapter if we could tap into them. Second, I enjoyed Michael Layman and his style of explaining Congress and the legislative updates we need to be aware of. He made this topic fun and interesting. Finally, I learned a few things about how the SHRM Foundation works and what they provide. I was undereducated in this area of SHRM and see things a little bit clearer now.”

Mike Leibundgut – Director of Government Affairs

“I think the State Leadership conference was a great way to connect with members of other Boards and fellow HR professionals and share best practices. It was really nice to see what other chapters are doing in times like this to promote the profession and its value to the community as a whole, not just within our own companies.”

Melissa Wieland – Director of Workforce Readiness & Diversity

I felt several facets of the conference were very interesting. The first of which was the opportunity to further explore some of the areas of the chapter in which I am less familiar. Namely the Governmental Affairs breakout session where we focused on the resources we have available to our members either through National SHRM or WISHRM. We also began the initial stages of planning a legislative conference in 2010 which should offer our members a unique look at upcoming changes in employment and labor laws. This is an exciting opportunity for our chapter since Government Affairs is a newly defined area and there is so much we can do to serve our members during these turbulent times. We are certainly off to a great start!

I was also excited for the opportunity to attend my first WISHRM State Council Meeting. It was great to hear the ties we have to the council and hear about their upcoming events/offerings. A main topic of discussion was the upcoming WISHRM State Conference which will be held at the Kalahari Resort in the Wisconsin Dells October 14-16 th. Volunteers are extremely busy planning for that event. If you haven’t heard… they have arranged for a special dinner and entertainment for Thursday evening. (Check out the “Activities” section of the conference website to see who will be there!)

The state leadership conference offered so much to me both personally and professionally. I look forward to watching the best practices be put into practice over the upcoming year!

Kari A Lauritsen, SPHR
GMA SHRM President

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GMA SHRM Board of Directors

Kari Lauritsen, SPHR

Dave Furlan, PHR
President Elect

Cassy Van Dyke, SPHR
Past President

John Komosa
Secretary Treasurer

Kris Schmitt
Director, Education & Development

Chris Berg Thacker, PHR
VP, Membership

Mike Leibundgut, SPHR
Director, Government Affairs

Zach Penshorn, PHR
VP, Programming

Jake Siudzinski

VP, Marketing & Communications


Melissa Wieland
Director Workforce Readiness & Diversity


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Bizarre Laws

Beware of this crime against public health and safety. . .According to State Statute 941.10, it is a class A misdemeanor to handle fire or burning material in a "highly negligent manner in which a person should realize that a substantial and unreasonable risk of serious damage to another's property is created"

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September 15, 2009 – GMA SHRM Summit
Topic: Employment Law Update

At the GMA SHRM May One Day Conference Elizabeth Erickson Pevehouse of Melli Law conducted an employment law update breakout session.  Since that session there have been multiple new developments and changes at the local, state and federal levels. 

The September GMA SHRM Summit will feature Ms. Erickson Pevehouse as she provides an update that no HR professional responsible for employment law can afford to miss, as she will focus on providing information to help you deal with the following changes to:

  • Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (WFEA)
  • WI Family Medical Leave Act (WFMLA)
  • WI Non-Competition Agreements
  • Federal Minimum Wage Law

Additionally, the September GMA SHRM Summit will provide you the latest information on proposed legislation including:

  • Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA)
  • Paycheck Fairness Act
  • Healthy Families Act
  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Milwaukee Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

Again this session is a can’t miss for you to ensure your organization remains complaint with recent and upcoming changes in employment law. To register for this event, click here.

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Status of the 2009 Healthy Families Act
Contributed by Tammy L. Barden, Employee Relations Specialist, WPS Health Insurance

The Healthy Families Act was first proposed in a session of congress on March 15, 2007. The bill was never passed but was reintroduced in 2009. The purpose of the bill is to allow Americans to earn paid sick time so that they can address their own health needs and the health needs of their families.

If passed by Congress, the bill would impact employers with 15 or more employees for each working day during 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year. Those employers are required to provide each employee at least one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Employers would not need to provide an employee with more than 56 hours of paid sick time in a calendar year, unless the employer chooses to set a higher limit.

The Healthy Families Act would allow employees to use this paid sick time for the following:

  • To meet their own medical needs;
  • To care for the medical needs of certain family members; or
  • To seek medical attention, assist a related person, take legal action, or engage in other specified activities relating to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Currently, this bill is in the first step of the legislative process. It has been referred to the House Administration and Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions for deliberation, investigation and revision before going to general debate. The majority of bills never make it out of committee. For the official bill text, go to

The Government Affairs Committee would like your input on this proposed bill. How would the Healthy Families Act impact your organization? Would it have a positive impact, negative impact, or no impact at all? Do you support or oppose this bill? Email your responses to We will share your responses in the October newsletter.

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Case Study - “I Can’t Drive, So I’m Disabled”
Contributed by Mike Leibundgut, Director, GMA SHRM Government Affairs

What Happened? “Wilson” worked as a Public Health Nurse for Cook County. Hired in fall of 2001, she took leave in 2003 for major surgery but then returned. After a car accident in March 2004, Wilson didn’t need or seek any medical care, but she complained to her psychiatrist of panic attacks. He diagnosed her with post-traumatic stress disorder and sent her managers repeated notes to the effect that she could not be required to drive to client’s homes without experiencing full-blown panic attacks.

The county tried many solutions such as part-time work, moving Wilson to an office nearer her home and sharply restricting her workday driving. But she continued a pattern of tardiness and poor attendance. Managers then gave her four choices: resign and apply for disability benefits, resume full-time work as a public health nurse, including driving to clients; take a demotion to clinic nurse; or become a part-time registered nurse. Wilson chose disability leave from June to December 2004. Later, her attendance was still poor, and she complained that co-workers asked too many personal questions about her leave.

So in June 2005, Wilson, who is African American filed a charge with the EEOC of race and disability discrimination. By spring of 2007, her attendance still had not improved; given a disciplinary note about it, she quit – and sued. A federal district court found no evidence of bias and dismissed her case. She appealed to the 7 th Circuit, which covers Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

What the Court Said?
Appellate judges studied ADA language, both before and after the amendments of January 2009, and EEOC’s list of “major life activities”. Unlike sleeping, breathing, and working, driving isn’t listed anywhere. So they joined three other circuits – the 2 nd, 10 th, and 11 th – in ruling that driving is not a major life activity. So Wilson did not have a disability. Furthermore, judges could find no evidence of racial bias or retaliation, so her case was again dismissed.

Point to Remember :Judges no doubt looked favorably on the county’s efforts to accommodate the nurse, even though they were not obligated to do so. Treating all employees with the same standards assists greatly when retaliation and bias claims are made.

For Full Details on This Case See : Wilson vs. Cook County , U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7 th Circuit, No. 08-2339 ( 4/22/09)

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2009 GMA SHRM Compensation Survey

Last year GMA SHRM partnered with enetrix, a Gallup Company, to provide premier on-line surveys.  The 2008 GMA SHRM Compensation Survey is a comprehensive on-line survey that has the flexibility to produce reports based on revenue size, industry, type of ownership, and number of FTE’s.  The 2008 GMA SHRM Compensation Survey had over 100 companies of all sizes in the greater Madison area that provided salary information for more than 200 benchmarked jobs.  Our hope this year is to increase the number of participants.   Participating members receive a significant discount on the cost of the survey!

If you would like to participate, please go to  Select “Click Here to Register” on the right to create an individual and company profile and create your username and password. If an individual from your company has already registered for an account, they will need to grant you permission to enter and review data for your company. Select “Participation” and follow the steps to enter your survey data.

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Interested in career possibilities for you or have an HR opening in your company?

Visit the GMA SHRM website and click on “Job Board” under the Resources to learn about opportunities all over Wisconsin or to advertise your opportunity in Wisconsin, inviting other SHRM members to apply. Even the fees are reasonable:

$100 per job – if affiliated with a local Wisconsin SHRM Chapter 
$200 per job – if no chapter affiliation

For more information on the fees and how to have your opening posted, click here.

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2009 ATHENA Young Professional Award

The Business Forum (TBF) is pleased to announce that it is accepting nominations for the 2nd annual ATHENA Young Professional Award. The ATHENA Young Professional Award honors emerging community leaders whose professional and personal achievements make them ideal role models for young women. Both men and women between the ages of 25 and 40 are eligible for the award.

Any individual, business, or professional group can nominate someone for the ATHENA Young Professional Award. The criteria are:

  • The individual clearly serves as a role model for young women, personally and professionally.
  • The individual is an emerging leader who demonstrates excellence, creativity and initiative in his or her business or profession.
  • The individual provides valuable service by contributing time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community.

Click here to view the nomination form.

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Profile Updates

2009 has proven to be a year of significant change. Whether impacted by company layoffs/closures, volatile housing markets or just a new opportunity many of us have made changes to our personal or professional contact information. Please take a minute to make sure that your contact information is up to date in your Profile on the GMA SHRM website. Simply log-on to; click on “log-in”; and “manage contact and profile information.” Beginning in late September we will be moving to an on-line directory and we want to ensure that each member has updated information prior to rolling-out. Thanks for your help!

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GMA SHRM Member of the Month

Kristina Kaker  

Where do you currently work?
TeamSoft, Inc.  

What is the focus of your position?
My focus is split between HR (managing employee hires/exits, answering employee questions, administering COBRA, tracking metrics, writing the company newsletter, organizing employee events, etc.) and accounting duties.

How long have you been in the Human Resource field?
About 2 years.

Which of your career accomplishments makes you proudest?
Managing my company’s HR role by myself for four months while my supervisor was on maternity leave…it was a challenge, but everyone survived. I am also very proud of obtaining my PHR certification.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
It's okay to say, "I don't know, but I will get back to you with the answer to your question."

Why did you decide to join GMA SHRM?
I wanted to belong to a professional organization that would provide me with educational and networking opportunities. It doesn't hurt that GMA SHRM also provides a lot of opportunities for fun, too!

If you’d like to be featured as the Member of the Month in an upcoming issue of HR InTouch, please e-mail Kate Karre at

Volunteer Opportunity

Want to get more involved?

The Workforce Readiness Committee meets at The Park Bank Support Center located at 1815 Greenway Cross. Please contact Rhonda Schemm at if you’re interested in attending either of the following meetings.

Wednesday, October 21 st 8:00a.m.-9:00a.m.
Wednesday, December 9 th 8:00a.m. - 9:00a.m.

GMA SHRM is LinkedIn

 Come join our GMA SHRM Chapter group on LinkedIn! What is LinkedIn? It’s a business-oriented social networking site that can be used to connect with friends (old and new), find or post jobs and get information. In order to join, sign in at and keyword search GMA SHRM Chapter.

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Welcome New Members!

GMA SHRM welcomes the following members who joined our chapter in July of 2009!

Theresa L. Dilley

Executive Search Associate

The QTI Group

Debbie J. Haines

HR Director

Dean Health Systems, Inc.

Andrea L. Holznagel

HR Manager

Kerr, Inc

Jennifer L. Jackson

Resource Manager

Kforce, Inc.

Jennifer C. Peters, PHR

HR Manager

Cascade Asset Management

Tina M. Root

Regional Recruiter

Upper Iowa University

Gary R. Sawyer


Growthplus, LLC


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.

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


Movin' Up

Kristina Kaker, Human Resource Generalist at TeamSoft, Inc recently received her PHR certification.

Congratulations Kristina!

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 .




Greater Madison Area SHRM, Inc.
2830 Agriculture Dr.
Madison, WI 53718
(608) 204-9814
fax: (608) 204-9818

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