Give Your Skills a Workout During Summer Training Events

Just as a body needs exercise and a healthy diet to stay in top physical shape, skill sets also require regular training to achieve peak performance in the workplace.

The Indiana Chamber is offering several “workouts” in June and July covering topics such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), worker’s compensation, wage and hour laws, and more.

Stretch your mind with these June events (full listings at

Family Medical Leave Act Seminar (June 8), Ritz Charles in Carmel. Presented by Ogletree Deakins, this seminar is appropriate for new and experienced human resources professionals. Attendees will learn the responsibilities of FMLA and how to ensure a compliant workplace.

2017 Indiana Worker’s Compensation Conference (June 20), Hyatt Regency in downtown Indianapolis. Learn strategies to keep worker’s compensation premium rates low and how to handle worker’s compensation claims. Sponsors are Athletico Physical Therapy, the Center for Diagnostic Imaging and Kindred Healthcare. Additional sponsorships are available by contacting Jim Wagner at (317) 264-6876.

The French Lick Springs Hotel in French Lick will be the host site of two July training options. These two-day events take place July 20-21:

  • The Advanced HR Management Seminar was created in 2016 and inspired by feedback from previous conference attendees. Participants will learn about the significance of marijuana legislation and the opioid epidemic on the workplace. Key issues regarding FMLA and the Americans with Disabilities Act will also be discussed.
  • The Supervising and Managing People Workshop is ideal for new and experienced supervisors. Attendees can gain a better understanding of what is expected of a supervisor and will take a self-assessment test to measure performance in supervisory skills.

On July 27, the 2017 Indiana Wage & Hour Law Seminar will be held at the Indiana Chamber Conference Center in downtown Indianapolis. Presented by Ice Miller, this seminar will address tactics to keep your company in compliance with wage and hour laws. Attendees will receive updated information on potential federal changes.

See event pages for complete details. Continuing education credits apply in certain cases and count toward the Indiana Chamber’s Human Resources Specialist Certificate.

Take your training to the next level and register today by going online or by calling Nick at
(800) 824-6885.

Poster Fines Increased in 2017

Fines for outdated workplace posters have increased recently in accordance with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015. (The law requires federal agencies to adjust penalties for inflation each January.)

Here are the current maximum civil penalties for not posting:

  • Employee Polygraph Protection Act poster – $20,111 (up from $19,787)
  • Job Safety and Health: It’s the Law (OSHA) poster – $12,675 (up from $12,471)
  • EEOC poster – $534 (up from $525)
  • Family and Medical Leave Act poster – $166 (up from $163)

Required updates were made to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) workplace posters in 2016:

FLSA: Effective August 1, 2016, a new FLSA poster is required. The update includes new information about the overtime rule, independent contractors and nursing mothers. Outdated fine information was also removed.

EPPA: Also effective August 1, the EPPA poster was updated. Outdated fine information was also removed from this poster and contact information was updated.

FMLA: The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) posting was updated in April 2016 to be more reader-friendly. This update is included in our latest sets.

You can purchase posters online now!

Or, are you tired of trying to keep up with poster changes? We’re happy to take the pressure off at no added cost. Just subscribe to our convenient, free subscription service online or by calling (800) 824-6885. You’ll get new posters whenever there’s a required update without even having to order! You’ll join hundreds of other Indiana businesses already benefiting from this service.

Hendricks Power Cooperative: Maximizing Its Chamber Investment Through Compliance Resources

Lenardson_DebLearning the ropes when starting a new job is always challenging. Imagine your position changing soon thereafter to encompass the vast world of human resources.

Nearly a decade after launching her career at Hendricks Power Cooperative (located in Avon, it provides electricity and energy services to 30,000-plus members in west central Indiana), HR director Deb Lenardson credits the Indiana Chamber with helping to ease the transition.

She points to regulatory compliance publications, which cover worker’s compensation, the Family Medical Leave Act and a variety of other employment law topics.

“I wasn’t hired into HR, but after about three months I was hired into (an HR) position, which is kind of why those books became so important,” Lenardson emphasizes. “I was new and learning. They’re great, reliable resources for us.

“When I’m looking for local information about Indiana, that’s where I go because so many of my other resources (offered elsewhere) are more generalized on a national level.”

The Chamber’s free poster subscription service also fuels Lenardson’s compliance efforts. When there is a significant change to any mandatory Indiana or federal employment postings, the Chamber automatically sends subscribers the revised poster set(s) with an invoice for the postings.

“I love that because I don’t have to worry about, ‘Am I going to keep my required posters up-to-date?’ ” she declares. “Anything I can have that helps me just keep things moving along without having to be reactive – I can be proactive with those things. I love that.”

Wick’s Pies: Maximizing Its Chamber Investment Through Compliance Resources

foodserviceLife is sweet at Wick’s Pies

The family-owned business, which opened in 1944 and has been an Indiana Chamber member since 1984, has a tight-knit team that whips up flavors such as pecan, pumpkin, sugar crème (the state pie), coconut crème, German chocolate and more. During an eight-hour production shift, the associates can bake as many as 12,000 pies. In addition, they can make 40 shells per minute in a seven-hour period.

Wick’s has spawned Wick’s Foods (which makes pie glaze for Wick’s Pies) and a restaurant – all located within a block of one another in Winchester.

Human resources specialist Tonya Fouse notes that prior to joining Wick’s Pies in 2006, “I worked in the automotive industry and was a purchasing manager. I had strong managerial skills, but I didn’t know a thing about HR.

“It was baptism by fire and our tool to teach me was the Indiana Chamber – the seminars I went to, all the reading material I could get my hands on (citing publications that cover topics such as unemployment law, worker’s compensation and labor relations), and the (helpline) resources I could call.”

Fouse proudly shares that she earned the Chamber’s Human Resources Specialist Certificate in 2012 after attending a variety of training events. In addition, she routinely utilizes the Chamber’s HR Helpline, a free, confidential resource exclusively available to members.

“We’ve just about hit every topic there is. With FMLA (for instance), it seems there’s always something that evolves. I totally trust in that resource, and it’s wonderful for me to be able to shoot an email (to director of human resources Michelle Kavanaugh) and a response comes back within the hour. It’s been a lifesaving tool for me.

“(The Chamber) kind of formed me and molded me into the HR specialist I am today.”

FMLA: Are You Eligible?

It's been 20 years since the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was signed by President Clinton and since then many changes have been implemented, creating headaches and frustration for both employers and employees.

Some have even been forced to choose between their family and their jobs because they were not aware of new regulations or did not read the “fine print.”

FMLA is supposed to give a full-time employee a sense of job security when they need to take an extended leave of absence. Their leave can be due to a birth or adoption of a child, personal or family medical emergencies, or a health condition. Leave can be up to 12 weeks during a 12-month period and is generally unpaid.

However, the confusing part is knowing whether or not you are eligible. New regulations are constantly being added to FMLA and are causing many headaches for those trying to qualify. Just a few months ago, new regulations went into effect for military leave and flight crew eligibility.

FMLA is not just a hassle for employees but for the employer as well. Businesses who employ less than 50 people do not qualify for FMLA.

For employees, they must meet a few requirements such as working for their covered employer for at least one year and have worked at least 1,250 hours before their leave. When applying for a job, you must be aware of how many employees there are because, again, if there are less than 50 your employer is not qualified for FMLA and neither are you.

If you and your employer qualify for FMLA, then you will continue to receive any benefits — such as health insurance coverage — while on leave. Upon returning to work, you will retain the same rate of pay before you took leave as well as your same position. Note that you must be a full-time employee to qualify.

Aside from all the headaches, FMLA is the most widely used leave program. Human resource professionals need to stay on top of these changes to best serve their employees. Every year, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce partners with Ogletree Deakins to provide HR professionals and small business owners with information on the FMLA, including seminars and publications. In fact, our upcoming Employee Benefits seminar in September will educate you about new changes and allow you to ask important questions.

FMLA News: Overactive Nurse Done In by Facebook Posts

If you're into rhyming mnemonic devices, a relevant one for workers on leave could be: "If you're out on FMLA, better watch how much you play."

The California Chamber's HR Watchdog blog tells the tale of a nurse in Detroit who was not only quite active while on leave, but documented her hijinx on Facebook. Needless to say, her employer and coworkers were less than enthusiastic about how she was milking the company.

A Detroit nurse out on Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave for a back and leg injury was fired after Facebook posts showed her vacationing in Mexico. Her doctor certified the need for her leave due to substantial lifting and mobility restrictions. But several Facebook posts showed the nurse in Mexico riding in a boat; lying on a bed holding up two bottles of beer.

She also posted other details about her life that seemed inconsistent with her leave, including pictures of herself holding her grandchildren while standing (one in each arm), details about trips to Home Depot, “watching” the grandchildren and taking online classes.

Co-workers who were Facebook “friends” of the nurse told management. While on leave, the nurse sent an email to her boss complaining that she never received a get-well card from staff.

Her boss replied that: “the staff were waiting until you came back from your vacation in Mexico to determine the next step. Since you were well enough to travel on a 4+ hour flight, wait in customs lines, bus transport, etc., we were assuming you would be well enough to come back to work.”

The nurse responded that she used wheelchairs at the airports, but eventually conceded that this was a lie and that she had been able to stand for 30 minutes while waiting in airport lines.

She was terminated for violating a company policy on dishonesty and for misuse of FMLA leave. A federal court in Michigan upheld the termination. Lineberry v. Richards (E.D. Mi. February 5, 2013)

Mandatory FMLA Poster Update Issued!

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued a final rule implementing new regulations regarding FMLA protections. These new rules require that employers covered under the FMLA post an updated FMLA posting.

“The first expansion provides families of eligible veterans with the same job-protected FMLA leave currently available to families of military service members and it also enables more military families to take leave for activities that arise when a service member is deployed,” according to the DOL. “The second expansion modifies existing rules so that airline personnel and flight crews are better able to make use of the FMLA’s protections.”

The regulations were revised to implement statutory amendments to the FMLA that occurred under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 and the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act. They take effect March 8, 2013.

Our new poster sets are in production. You can order new sets on our web site or call (800) 824-6885. Or better yet, join hundreds of Hoosier businesses by signing up for our poster subscription service. With this service, we'll just send you new poster sets when MANDATORY changes are made. This gives you peace of mind of not having to track updates to keep your company in compliance. The service itself costs nothing extra; you just pay for the posters as you normally would. (Poster sets are $45 each and Indiana Chamber members receive 25% off.)

** The FMLA poster is required for all covered employers, which means those with 50 or more employees. Public agencies and public and private elementary and secondary schools are also covered regardless of the number of employees.