November 2009


In This Edition

By Jake Siudzinski,
GMA SHRM VP of Marketing and Communications

Bizarre Laws: YIELD! Livestock coming through...

HR Manager Oversteps Privileges
- Contributed by Mike Liebundgut, Director GMA SHRM Government Affairs

November 17, 2009 - GMA SHRM Summit
Topic: Labor Law and HR: Government Affairs Summit

New GINA Rules Impact Employer Plans
- Contributed by Adam Jensen, JD, CEBS, GBA, FLMI, Director of Compliance Services, Cottingham & Butler Consulting Services.

Linking People to the Workplace
- Contributed by Kristen Petroshius, YW Transit Program Coordinator, YWCA Madison

1+1=? How Many Employees Should We Hire
Contributed by Michelle Venturini, SPHR, Venturini Business Consulting

2010 GMA SHRM Corporate Partnership Program

Recognition for the Workforce Readiness Committee

GMA SHRM Member of the Month
- Chris Hanson

- Want to Get more Involved

- Welcome New Members!

- In Transition

- What's Cool in HR

- Movin' Up

Click here to see the full GMA SHRM Event Calendar.

November 17, 2009 - GMA SHRM Summit
Topic: Labor Law and HR: Government Affairs Summit

Printable version


































2009 Corporate Partners

Boardman Law Firm
Galaxy Technologies
The Payroll Company

Hays Companies
Lee Hecht Harrison
Physicians Plus Insurance Corporation
Cottingham Butler

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

Thank you!

Jake Siudzinski
VP, Marketing & Communications

Greetings GMA SHRM Members:

November? Is that really possible? So that means fall weather, holidays, and the time for many of our members to purchase the GMA SHRM Compensation Survey? Yes! Whether or not we are ready for November and all that comes with, it is time to bundle up and prepare for a season’s change as well as look forward to a new year. When looking ahead to 2010 many of us will be putting budgets together and will need access to a compensation survey. The GMA SHRM Compensation Survey is one of the highest quality surveys in the Madison area. As part of our initiatives for the Communications and Marketing Committee we wanted to take this opportunity to promote and share more information on this great survey. Please review the article written by one of our members below, and enjoy a beautiful November.

Jake Siudzinski
GMA SHRM VP, Communications & Marketing


It’s time to align your company’s total compensation package with the best talent in Dane County – Written by Lauren Meyer

In this time of economic uncertainty, some factors remain the same. Business leaders of both large and small companies in Dane County are in a war for talent. Regardless of market downturns, top performing employees will always land a job. Will your business meet the challenges of motivating and retaining your company’s next generation of leaders? Will your compensation packages remain competitive while streamlining costs? How will you get the most bang for your compensation buck? It’s time to look beyond pay and manage your rewards.

The Greater Madison Area Society for Human Resource Management can provide your company with the tools needed to customize your compensation and benefits programs. GMA SHRM, in partnership with Enetrex, has compiled data from more than 120 membership organizations in Dane County to create statistically meaningful data in a flexible on-line format.

Together, our Compensation Survey and Benefits Survey will give you the information you need to balance the needs of your organization with the intrinsic needs of your employees. The Compensation Survey allows you to produce reports based on revenue size, industry, and employee type with just the click of a mouse. Data is continuously collected and updated year round so your survey always contains the most up-to-date information. The Benefit Survey provides data on how some of the top Dane County employers are building and customizing their benefit packages to include wellness and reward programs, cost containment features, PTO programs, as well as the traditional benefits such as medical and dental.

To purchase this survey, go to and click on the purchase option. Participating members receive a significant discount on the cost of this survey.

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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

Please YIELD! Livestock coming through. . .

According to WI State Statute 346.21, "The operator of a motor vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to livestock being driven over or along any highway but any person in charge of such livestock shall use reasonable care and diligence to open the roadway for vehicular traffic". 

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HR Manager Oversteps Privileges
Contributed by Mike Leibundgut, Director, GMA SHRM Government Affairs

A Human Resource Manager sued her company for sex discrimination. She remained employed during the suit, and during that time she took personnel records from the company which she believed helped her case and gave them to her attorney. The company discovered this “theft” of records and discharged the HR Manager. She added a retaliation claim to her suit. She then used the stolen records in the litigation, over the objection of the defendant. A jury eventually awarded $10 million to the HR Manager, much of it based on the “retaliatory” discharge. The appeals court vacated the verdict, finding the trial judge failed to properly rule on the stolen personnel records and resulting discharge. The court ruled that employees engaged in suits still have a duty to do their jobs properly. Unauthorized taking of documents is not a protected activity, and discharge for that act is not illegal retaliation.

Moral of the story - even though we have access to records that might help our own case, it’s a privilege, not a right…we need to get authorization no matter what the circumstances!

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November 17, 2009 – GMA SHRM Summit
Topic: Labor Law and HR: Government Affairs Summit

Have you ever wondered how you can impact key labor law that affects our state?  Well now you have that chance during our November GMA SHRM Summit.  

During the November GMA SHRM Summit, the Government Affairs Committee will be hosting State Representative Brett Davis, Republican, and State Senator Jon Erpenbach, Democrat, where they will be presenting topics related to employment law with a focus on the impact legislative and state budget changes have on employers and the Human Resources field.

Click here for more information or to register now!

New GINA Rules Impact Employer Plans
Adam Jensen, JD, CEBS, GBA, FLMI, Director of Compliance Services, Cottingham & Butler Consulting Services

New interim final rules for the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) go into effect December 7, 2009 that will affect employer benefit plans.  The overall GINA group health plan provisions are effective for plan years that begin on or after May 21, 2009.  The new interim final rules will affect calendar year plans as of January 1, 2010.  Group health plans and health insurance issuers cannot request, require or buy genetic information for underwriting purposes or prior to and in connection with enrollment. In addition, plans and issuers are generally prohibited from asking individuals or family members to undergo a genetic test.

The new interim final rules affect health risk assessments (HRAs) and disease management (DM) programs to the extent that the rules prohibit collecting genetic information for underwriting purposes.  If a wellness program provides any reward for the completion of an HRA that solicits information about the individual’s family medical history, then the program violates GINA.  Employers should verify with their HRA vendor that family medical history questions have been removed, if any reward is provided by the HRA. Similarly, if a group plan requires completion of an HRA prior to enrollment it violates GINA, even if no reward is associated with completion.  If an HRA asks for health history, it should instruct the individual to only answer for the individual and not the individual’s family.  DM programs are often provided with information from HRAs and use the family medical history to target “at-risk” individuals.  Under GINA, HRAs may only gather family medical history after enrollment and may not have any reward associated with them.  These totally voluntary programs have often met with little success and frequently do not reach the intended at-risk segments of the employee population.

The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services ( HHS) also issued a proposed rule that modifies the HIPAA Privacy Rule pursuant to GINA Title I.  The rule clarifies that genetic information is health information and to prohibit the use and disclosure of genetic information by covered health plans for eligibility determinations, premium computations, applications of any pre-existing condition exclusions, and any other activities related to the creation, renewal, or replacement of a contract of health insurance or health benefits.  Employers must take steps to ensure that their insurance carrier or third party administrator modifies the Notice of Privacy Practices that is provided to plan members to include reference to “genetic information”.  HIPAA Privacy policies and procedures should also be updated to include “genetic information” references.

Adam P. Jensen is the Director of Compliance Services with Cottingham & Butler Consulting Services and has worked in the insurance and employee benefits industry since 1986. Adam specializes in providing regulatory compliance and plan design services for health and welfare plans and qualified retirement plans. He also advises executive clients on non-qualified deferred compensation issues. Contact Adam via email at or phone at 608-467-5030.

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Linking People to the Workplace
Contributed by Kristen Petroshius, YW Transit Program Coordinator, YWCA Madison

As human resources and workforce development professionals, we often discuss the many barriers to developing and maintaining a strong workforce. Employment training, childcare, educational opportunities, and employment benefits are the key issues that frame our strategies for building our human capital. While reliable transportation is a key component of what enables our staff to come work hard everyday, it is an issue rarely discussed in our professional circles. Furthermore, while lack of transportation is an issue that especially hits those of us who employ low-income people, it’s an issue that all of us should think about as we conceptualize what attracts our employees to our company and what we can do to make their commutes more enjoyable.

For those of us with some level of educational and economic privilege, owning a car makes mobility easy. For low-income people especially, however, lack of transportation can be one of the largest barriers to overcome in obtaining employment. There are various reasons why people cannot just drive to work on their own:

  • Inability to afford a car.
  • Inability to drive due to a disability or health issue.
  • Inability to have a driver’s license, for various reasons.
  • Inability to pay past parking tickets/fines.

When someone does not have the individual resources to get to and from work on their own, public transportation and commuter options become more and more critical not only to their individual success in obtaining and maintaining employment but also to the health and economic vitality of our entire community.

Over the last year, even middle class families have seen their savings shrink and, in many cases, their job security threatened. Finding ways to save money and still meet daily living expenses is a hallmark of these times. Many workers have significantly cut down on driving or given up their cars completely and chosen public transit and other methods of ridesharing to commute to work. “Going Green” efforts have further motivated many employees to find ways to reduce their environmental footprint by using public transit or ridesharing options. This makes employer-based transportation solutions even more critical to developing and maintaining a strong workforce.

As HR Professionals, we are often the gatekeepers to information regarding transportation needs and options if we choose to be. In an effort to develop comprehensive employment transportation solutions, the YWCA Madison is working to build collaborations among stakeholders to work on these issues. If you would like to get involved or receive more information, please contact our YW Transit Program Coordinator at (608) 316-6840 or

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1+1 = ? – How Many Employees Should We Hire?
Michelle Venturini, SPHR, Owner of Venturini Business Consulting, LLC

The economic recovery seems to be cautiously but steadily underway and the most proactive employers are making moves to take advantage of the (temporary) supply of qualified candidates. HR is one of the first stops that business leaders make when they’re in the mood to hire, and “how many?” is one of the first questions they ask.

The new and fragile economy makes answering that question more difficult than ever and employers will look to HR for guidance about how to be smarter and more strategic than ever in building and managing their workforce. The best prepared HR leaders will start researching an answer before the question is asked.

The attached article outlines how to use ratios and metrics to estimate staffing levels for your organization. As with most things, instincts honed through experience also play a role, but a foundation built on facts is the right place to start.

To continue reading this article, click here .

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2010 GMA SHRM Corporate Partnership Program

Is your organization looking for strategies to promote its products or services to the Madison-area HR community?  Then consider the opportunity to reach out to area HR professionals through the Greater Madison Area Society for Human Resource Management (GMA SHRM)!  The GMA SHRM chapter is one of the largest in the United States.  It is comprised of a diverse group of over 820 professionals representing more than 500 employers. 

Currently we are offering Corporate Partnerships for 2010. We have a variety of Partnership levels to suit your budget. Click here to see the benefits of becoming a Corporate Partner. Sign up now through November 13 th to secure your spot!

Volunteer GMA SHRM members will be following up through October on our time-sensitive annual opportunities.  We encourage anyone with interest to contact Missy Roth ( ) or Shaun Thomson ( ) to sign up for your Partnership spot for 2010.

We offer other advertising options throughout the year as well. View our chapter's expanded marketing opportunities.

Some highlights include:

  • Opportunities are available throughout the year on a limited basis (first come, first-served).
  • Web site advertising
  • E-blast sponsorship
  • Displays at meetings
  • Meeting sponsorship
  • Annual Human Capital Conference Sponsorship.  This annual, day long event in May is a great opportunity to reach local HR professionals.  

We appreciate your consideration of these opportunities and look forward to another successful year with our corporate partners, sponsors, and advertisers!

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Recognition for the Workforce Readiness Committee

GMA SHRM’s Workforce Readiness Committee was recently recognized by the Department of Workforce Development and its Division of Vocational Rehabilitation for an Employability Skills Workshop that was done in June. Click here to the read the letter.

Thank you to this committee for all the hard work you put in to make this event happen!

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GMA SHRM Member of the Month

Name: Chris Hansen

Where do you currently work? Payroll Data Services, Inc.

What is the focus of your position? Educating clients and prospects on the newest in HR technology

How long have you been in the Human Resource field? 12 years

Which of your career accomplishments makes you proudest? FPC Certified, connecting businesses and individuals through networking and socializing, making the dryest situations fun.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received? " Chance favors the prepared mind" - Louis Pasteur

Why did you decide to join GMA SHRM? We want to establish our company as a knowledge base of information in regards to everything payroll. The insight, education and contact I have received at GMA SHRM events furthers our education to continue our resource of knowledge.

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, 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 September of 2009!

Robert S. Boyd

Human Resource Instructor


Stacy M. Bresser

Associate Manager

TDS Telecom

Nancy A. Buss, PHR

HR Generalist


Colleen A. Clark-Buss

Human Resources/Payroll Mgr

Mental Health Center of Dane County

Dawn M. Collins, PHR



Karen P. Dwyer

Sr. HR Generalist


Jennifer L. Emmons, PHR

Career Coach

Lee Hecht Harrison

Angela C. Keelan-Martinez

HR Specialist

The Employer Group

John F. Macek, LCSW



Alyssa Moen

Safety/HR Consultant

TRICOR Insurance

Julie A. Pankow-Helland

Sr. Promotional Consultant

Creative Marketing Specialists, Inc.

Christina M. Shaughnessy

Senior Employment Specialist

Madison Gas & Electric Co.

Williams J. Shelia

Financial Advisor

UBS Financial Services

Robert M. Shimmel

VP of Client Services

Career Momentum, Inc.

Kristina E. E. Thole, PHR

Employer Services Coordinator

State of WI, DWD, BJS

Tyler Wood

HR Coordinator

Culvers Franchising System Inc


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

Teresa Perlman, Payroll & Benefits Specialist at Saris Cycling Group, Inc. recently earned her PHR certification.

Congratulations Teresa!

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

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