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What Happened: 2014
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What Happened: 2014

  • November, 2014November Dinner Meeting: Facing Today’s Leadership Challenges 
  • October, 2014October Legal Breakfast Series: Advanced Disability Management Strategies 
  • October, 2014: The Future of HR: What's Next For The Profession?
  • October, 2014:  Happy Hour and HR Networking Event 
  • September, 2014 Competency Models are Worthless...Without the Right Approach 
  • June, 2014You – The Brand: Building Impressions and Connections 
  • May, 2014: Technology in the Workplace: The Cloud’s Business Impact on HR
  • April, 2014Turning Confrontation into Collaboration
  • March, 2014: Effective HR Management of Behavioral Health Issues in the Workplace 
  • February, 2014: The Do's and Dont's of Background Screening
  • January, 2014: Truth & Lies: The Science

November: Facing Today’s Leadership Challenges


The Wednesday, November 19 Dinner meeting entitled “Facing Today’s Leadership Challenges” was a phenomenal session about defining what excellent leadership look like and explored how do companies create, nurture and develop those leaders.  

Dr. Seymour Adler, Partner in Aon Hewitt's Performance, Talent, and Rewards organization, lead an interactive and thought provoking discussion regarding external forces and the key capabilities leaders need to successfully address those challenges. 

We examined challenges leaders face due to economic, technological, social,
and generational changes impacting their organizations. Top leaders are able to maneuver through a “VUCA” (Volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment with resiliency by leveraging learning through failure to build their adaptive skills.  

The legal update from David Lichtenberg, Esq. highlighted New Jersey Sick Leave Ordinances at the municipal level.  If you have associates working in any of the eight cities, it would be worthwhile to review those ordinances.  (Passaic, East Orange, Paterson, Irvington, Newark, Jersey City, Montclair and Trenton)   


October Legal Breakfast, 2014

October 30, 2014 marked our first Legal Breakfast Series Seminar, which will be ongoing.  This new event was arranged by Robert Micera, Chapter President and David Lichtenberg, VP Legislation of MC SHRM, along with Fisher & Phillips, a national labor/employment law firm where David is a partner.  The topic of the morning was “Advanced Disability Management Issues.”  The room was filled with attendees and the energy and discussion was outstanding.  David did an outstanding job covering the subject matter regarding the interplay between the federal (FMLA & ADA) and state (NJLAD, NJFLA) laws which sparked great questions in an open forum.  Managing disability issues is sensitive and can be very complicated.  The conversation provided great insight and practical measures that attendees can easily take back to the workplace.

The event was held at the Wyndham Hamilton Park Hotel in Florham Park which is a new venue for the chapter. The event offered an opportunity to network, learn the latest on critical legal matters in the HR professional, and enjoy a fantastic  breakfast with colleagues who share similar concerns and employment issues.  We plan to offer these seminars at least twice yearly and will announce and invite all MC SHRM Chapter members. 
The Legal Breakfast Series provides attendees with excellent learning opportunities and the chance to dive deeper into many challenges that we face. They also provide our membership additional options for those challenged with attending our monthly evening events at the College of Saint Elizabeth.  Our goal is to offer all members a variety of learning and networking experiences. 
If you would like copies of the slides presented at the October seminar, please feel free to reach out to David directly at (908) 516-1056 or

October, 2014


On October 8, 2014, dinner meeting was well attended.  Ian Siminoff from Fox Rothschild provided a legal update on the New Jersey law “Duty of Loyalty.”

Our main presentation which received 1.5 Strategic credits an engaging discussion facilitated by Robert Garcia, Global Business Development for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).  

The session entitled The Future of HR: What's Next For The Profession? explored four major challenges HR professionals are facing today and a two-part strategy for turning the challenges into opportunities for your organization.

About the Program:
For most organizations today, the business focus has shifted from short-term survival to long-term sustainability as the U.S. and global economy continue to recover slowly from the 2008-2009 recession. Achieving sustainability will be a true test of HR leadership in the uncertain economy ahead. In this presentation, you will explore four major challenges HR professionals are facing today and a two-part strategy for turning the challenges into opportunities for your organization. In addition, you will look at a case study of Deloitte LLP, where the strategies have brought impressive bottom-line results, as well as employee retention, engagement, and productivity.

About the Speaker:
Robert Garcia, MBA, SPHR, GPHR, is the Director of Global Business Development for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and is responsible for establishing and growing business relationships with global clients including key business leaders and HR executives in multinational and large national companies, accredited universities, human resource associations, and training providers across global regions. 

He brings a wealth of experience in the fields of human resource management, training and development, sales and marketing, leadership consulting, health care administration, operations, and diversity. He has worked with executive teams in industries that include: international banking, financial services, automotive, pharmaceutical, hospitality, medical, and transportation/logistics. He is tenacious at securing customer loyalty and forging strong relationships with business partners throughout the United States, Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East. 



October Networking Event, 2014



On October 2, the Warren-Sussex HRMA and the MC SHRM hosted a joint networking and membership social at the Zeris Inn - Chrisandis Restaurant in Mountain Lakes, NJ.  The evening quickly passed as we exchanged ideas and shared a few laughs over a really delicious spread.  

On October 2, the Warren-Sussex HRMA and the MC SHRM hosted a joint networking and membership social at the Zeris Inn - Chrisandis Restaurant in Mountain Lakes, NJ.  The evening quickly passed as we exchanged ideas and shared a few laughs over a really delicious spread.  

A few lucky raffle winners will enjoy a complimentary dinner meeting.  In addition, we were able to add 5 members to our organization.  The event was such a success, plans are already in motion for another event in the spring. Join us for the next one!


September, 2014

Approximately 80 guests joined us for our Labor Day BBQ themed event. We discussed the upcoming Veteran's program 11/13/14 - 11/15/14 and Morris County Community College programs from Judy Triebman.

The Legal Update was presented by Dave Lichtenberg and we enjoyed a brief video from Peter Ruccione from from American Diabetes Association.



June, 2014

A big thank you goes out to the 70 plus members who joined us for our summer barbeque themed dinner meeting

General Announcements
Please join us for the Annual July Employment Law Seminar on July 24th and the Bretton Woods Mansion in Morris Plains, New Jersey.

Judy Treibman is taking the position of College Relations Chair 

Legislative Update
This month’s legislative update was provided by Alix Rubin of Rubin Employment Law, and focused on Ban the Box legislation headed to New Jersey.
If passed, the Opportunity to Compete Act would make it illegal for employers to ask job applicants about their criminal history early on in the job application and interview process.  Once the first interview has been completed, an applicant’s criminal record would then be open to review.   In addition, if a candidate voluntarily discloses a criminal record during the initial application process, the employer may inquire further at that time. 
There would be some exceptions, to include: domestic workers in the home, positions in law enforcement, corrections, the judiciary, homeland security and emergency management, or where a criminal background check is required by law.   The Opportunity to Compete Act is a bit more employer friendly than the current Newark ‘ban the box laws’ which requires employers with five or more employees to wait until a conditional job offer has been made, and then only if there has been a “good faith determination” that criminal history is relevant to the position and the candidate has agreed to it in writing. 
Governor Chris Christie has indicated that he remains open to signing the legislation as part of a larger package aimed to help ex-cons reintegrate into society by removing obstacles to employment. Philadelphia and the state of Delaware are among the 64 states, counties and cities that have passed similar ban-the-box legislation.

Guest Speaker
Our speaker this month, Michelle TIllis Lederman author of 11 Laws of Likability and Founder of Executive Essentials, presented “You – The Brand: Building Impressions and Connections.” Have you ever wondered what are people saying about you when you leave the room? Is it what you want them to say? Are you having the influence and developing the relationships that impact the organization and your career?  In this talk, Michelle Tillis Lederman discussed how small tweaks make a big difference.  

Michelle discussed items that may help determine your brand attributes, she also demonstrated the nuances of body language and word choice on professional presence.  We then discussed how to strengthen the relationships in our networks, expanding upon lessons from her book The 11 Laws of Likability. Through Michelle’s presentation we focused on how to create a presence that stands out in the room; ways to tweak body language and word choice to shift perceptions and increase influence.  We also talked about establishing strategic relationships with key individuals in our organizations to influence organizational decision-making.  Finally how to establish and strengthen relationships/alliances with key individuals and outside organizations to assist in achieving the organization’s strategic goals and objectives. 

May, 2014

May’s meeting was almost at capacity for the 90 seats we had set up! The sun was shining, the food was tasty and the crowd was engaged.  

General Announcements

The July Legal Symposium is set for Thursday July 24th at the Mansion at Bretton Woods in Morris Plains, NJ.  This year’s update will be hosted by Fisher & Phillips, LLP. 

All Morris County chapter members are welcome to attend a free webinar by the Garden State Council chapter on Hiring Disability Candidates in 2014.  More information can be found here.

This month we were proud to welcome Ray Chimileski and Tom Wicklow from Operation Chillout.  Operation Chillout is a grassroots interfaith coalition founded in the year 2000 by concerned volunteers to help a group of homeless Viet Nam veterans living in the open under a railroad trestle in northern NJ. Ray and Tom shared the history of the organization, as well as some current initiatives and ways that chapter members can get involved. We look forward to further partnership with Ray and his organization.

We would like to thank our new Silver sponsor, AON.  Chapter member Lou Molinari spoke on behalf of our newest partner and provided some excellent raffle items as well.  organization, as well as some current initiatives and ways that chapter members can get involved.  We look forward to further partnership with Ray and his organization.

Legislative Update

Our update this month was presented by David Lichtenberg, VP of Legislative Affairs.  David spoke to us about arbitration agreements in employee handbooks.  Employers have, for years, weighed the pros and cons of having employees sign mandatory arbitration agreements.  In the past, the primary draw for these types of agreements was to avoid jury trials (and runaway jury awards), as well as the publicity associated with litigation.  The prevailing thought was also that arbitration is a faster and cheaper alternative to litigation.  With that said, arbitration is not the ideal forum for all employers, or in all situations.  

Recently, many employers across the country have more closely considered the use of mandatory arbitration agreements, as these agreements generally contain class action waivers.  Class actions can be extraordinarily expensive litigations, and, as a result, nearly always settle, which can stretch into seven figures for som

e industries.  The National Labor Relations Board has held definitively that such waivers violate Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.  In contrast, every federal appeals court that has weighed in on this issue has held that such waivers are enforceable.  The U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to decide the issue in the coming term.

After some discussion with the group and covering a current case against the furniture store Raymour & Flanigan, David advised the takeaway is this -- New Jersey employers who seek to have enforceable arbitration agreements should make them stand alone agreement.  There must also be a requisite level of mutuality and, in light of New Jersey case law it is wise for an employer to agree to pay for all costs associated with the arbitration process itself. 

Feature Presentation

This month’s guest speaker was Nick Meade from HR Cloud, a modern and powerful cloud-based HRMS solution with a complete suite of HR functionality, including core, performance, and onboarding HR software.

We’ve all heard about cloud computing, but what is it? Cloud computing is changing the way that companies throughout the world operate. This is particularly true for human resources professionals. For example, cloud-based HR systems have had a major impact on businesses' ability to build culture and improve productivity. With cloud based technologies, companies are now able to measure competencies and generate in-depth data to analyze key performance indicators like never before. 

Cloud-based systems enable businesses to digitally communicate business goals, creating better organizational alignment and reinforcing company values. HR professionals are often faced with challenging questions about cloud-based technology. For example, how can HR professionals ensure that a cloud based system provides security and can be trusted to protect data? How should service levels and formal service agreements be analyzed to guarantee that they are sufficient to handle organizational needs? How will incorporating cloud-based technology with other applications impact areas such as payroll and benefits? 

Nick’s presentation explored these questions about cloud-based technology.  Nick walked us through some basics of cloud-based systems and examples.  We discussed what current and future applications cloud computing has on HR systems, from applicant tracking through onboarding and other HRMS applications.  Through our discussion Nick helped to prepare us to respond to challenging questions about security, service, and integration so that we can be in a better position to respond to the ambiguous but very necessary reality of cloud computing and it’s inevitable impact on our systems and profession.

April, 2014



April’s meeting was well attended with 60+ guests enjoying our spring-themed and Greece-inspired menu.  Many thanks to Dan Benducci for the inspiration and theme.

VP of Membership Lois Nagie gave some updates on our current chapter membership status and asked us all to encourage our peers and friends who are SHRM national members to designate the Morris County chapter as their local, primary chapter.  Additionally, more information will be coming regarding a referral program to entice new members to attend chapter events and continue to grow our networks and the chapter. 

Legal Update 

This month’s legislative update was provided by Ian Siminoff of Fox, Rothschild, LLP.  Ian presented a case against the furniture store Raymour and Flanigan concerning employee handbook language around arbitration provisions.   Raymour & Flanigan’s handbook contained a disclaimer that nothing in the handbook creates a contract of employment between the company and its employees.  It amended its handbook to add an Employment Arbitration Program, which requires employees to arbitrate all employment related claims against the company and required electronic acknowledgement of this change from all employees. When an employee moved to sue for various types of discrimination, the company moved to pursue arbitration.  

The court ruled against the company saying its arbitration agreement was not enforceable.  They also noted that the disclaimer on the handbook’s first page, which began: “THIS HANDBOOK IS NOT A CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT,” did not expressly exempt the arbitration policy. As such, the handbook did not “clearly and unambiguously” confirm the employee’s agreement to arbitrate. 

Ian also spoke to us about the pending Newark Paid Sick Leave law scheduled to go into effect on May 29, 2014.  Newark becomes the second New Jersey municipality to require paid time off for private employees, the other being Jersey City. More information can be found on the New Jersey dept. of labor website and in upcoming meetings. 

Guest Speaker

Our April guest, friend of the chapter, Dr. Paul Marciano and President of Whiteboard, LLC, presented his 41 Tips for Turning Confrontations into Collaborations.  Most of us have a very difficult time delivering bad news or giving someone constructive feedback.  We fear that initiating difficult conversations will lead to a confrontation rather than a conversation. When we choose not to hold these crucial conversations or do so ineffectively, our relationships become more and more dysfunctional.  

This energetic and highly engaging presentation covered practical tips for how to approach a potentially confrontational conversation and turning into a positive experience.  Dr. Paul helped us recognize our own limitations when dealing with conflict and forced us to look at our own manner of communication and how we can create positive experiences with those we interact with. 

Dr. Paul’s new book Super Teams: Using the Principles of RESPECT™ to Unleash Explosive Business Performance,” was just released electronically and in print.   


March, 2014



Many thanks to the 75 plus members who braved the cold and came out for our St. Patrick’s Day themed dinner meeting.  T The corned beef and cabbage and shamrock cookies were delicious! We would also like to thank our sponsors, Strategic Benefit Services for providing this month’s raffle items.

The Morris County chapter would like to invite all its members to Like Us on Facebook! The Facebook page will share important updates and information from the chapter.  Please follow this link and ‘like’ us.

Legislative Update

This month’s legal update was provided by David Lichtenberg, VP of Legislative Affairs.  David presented a recent case to us concerning potential challenges to managing FMLA time for employees.  An employee, who clearly advised her employer that she needed time off from work for a potentially FMLA qualifying reason (caring for a sick family member), and was eligible for leave under the FMLA, told her supervisors that she only wanted to take two weeks of vacation time, and not family leave time.  The employer, as a result, did not run her vacation time concurrently with FMLA time and when she stayed out of work for more than two weeks, and did not request additional vacation or leave time, she was terminated under a 3-day no-call no-show policy.  The employee filed suit under the FMLA and the jury ruled in the employer’s favor. 

The employee appealed and argued that her employer was required to designate her time off as FMLA-qualifying, whether she wanted FMLA leave or not.  The appellate court disagreed, and said that an employee can affirmatively choose not to take FMLA leave (and preserve their 12 weeks of unpaid leave) and choose other paid leave if they so wish.  The takeaway is this: if an FMLA-eligible employee notifies an employer that they need leave for an FMLA qualifying reason, but does not want to use FMLA leave to cover it, more thought needs to go into the analysis of the administration of that person’s leave than simply sending out the standard FMLA paperwork.  

Effective HR Management of Behavioral Health Issues in the Workplace 

Presented by Aoifa O’Donnell, LCSW, SAP.  Aoifa is the Chief Executive Officer of National EAP, Inc.; a privately held New York based corporate EAP that has been in operation since 1982.  Aoifa is passionate about delivering high level business solutions that markedly improve the workplace of local and national business clients. She is an experienced national trainer, public speaker, coach and consultant addressing workplace issues such as diversity, leadership, behavioral and mental health, substance abuse, and teamwork and workplace culture.

The presentation started by providing a review of current mental & behavioral health issues that are widespread throughout the workforce including depression, anxiety and substance abuse.  One in five workers suffers from a mental illness, such as depression or anxiety, and many are struggling to cope.  Three in four workers with a mental disorder report reduced productivity at work, compared to one in four workers without a mental disorder. Work absences are also much more frequent for workers with mental illness, and about 30% to 50% of all new disability benefit claims in OECD countries are now attributed to mental ill health. 

Aoifa helped us to identify the enormous risk and liability issues that arise when employee decline is overlooked and what strategies HR can engage in to effectively manage and resolve difficult employee situations.

Finally, we discussed the importance of organizations having correct policies in place that protect and empower HR and leadership to take smart action when they most need it.  

February, 2014


Our new VP of Chapter Marketing and Communications, Kelly Greene, was introduced to the chapter.  We welcome Kelly and are excited for what she has to contribute to the chapter’s marketing and PR efforts.  There is still a vacancy for the role of Finance Chair. Anyone interested in this should contact VP of Membership Lois Nagie, PHR. 

The Morris County Chapter is honored to have received the Pinnacle Award from SHRM National, which was presented at the DC leadership conference.  The Pinnacle Award Program is designed to recognize outstanding achievements in chapter/state council development and contributions to the advancement of effective human resource management. All SHRM professional chapters and state councils are eligible to compete in this program.

This month’s legal update was provided by our Legislative VP, David Lichtenberg of Jackson, Lewis, LLP.  David discussed Governor Christie amending the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) to include pregnancy as a protected characteristic, and requiring accommodations for pregnant employees.  The law went into effect immediately.  In the past, the NJLAD protected employees from discrimination on the basis of sex and disability, but not pregnancy.  Now, an employee who is dealing with pregnancy-related health issues, is in the process of giving birth, or recovering from child birth, will need to be accommodated in the same fashion as an individual with a disability under the NJLAD.  This law applies to all employers, regardless of size.

Our feature presentation, ‘The Do’s and Don’ts of Background Screening’ was presented by Karen Jacobsen, President of DataScreening - an employment screening company. 

This presentation focused on the how to conduct the best possible background check for your organization. Karen told us that not all background checks are alike – there is no ‘one size fits all’. 

Karen discussed what the differences are in a physical search of public records versus a database search and what you should or shouldn’t do. She also covered what is considered a national database search – what is covered, what might be missed.

Finally, Karen gave us an overview of some best practices for background screening.  Some key take-aways included - matching your background checks to the position you are placing, focusing your search criteria on job-relevant aspects of a background. Karen stressed that it’s necessary as HR professionals we have an understanding of why we background screen and how searches are conducted.  

January, 2014


January’s dinner meeting was well attended, with over 70 members in attendance.

General Announcements:
• Several new members were confirmed to the board including:
- Kelley Price, new VP of Marketing & Communications
- Christina DeOliveira, MBA, CPS, ELI-MP; Angie Dumond and John Skully, Esq. were named to the Diversity & Workforce Readiness Committee
• PHR/SPHR Study group will start up again this February – stay tuned to further communications and meetings for further information.
The sponsor was Nick Meade from "HR Cloud" who will present a future program 

Legal Update 
provided by Ian Siminoff of Fox, Rothschild, LLP
Ian presented 2 recent cases that deal with the protection of an employee taking employer’s documents for use in anticipated or pending lawsuits.  Quinlan vs. Curtiss-Wright dealt with an employee who used over 1800 pages of confidential company documents to provide to her attorney to defend a discrimination case.  The case ruled in favor of the employer.  After the initial verdict was overturned at appeal, the case went to the NJ Supreme Court where the original verdict was upheld.  To support a retaliation claim, an employee needs to establish that they engaged in protected activity.  The Court explained that Quinlan’s taking the documents was not protected, but her attorney’s use of the documents was protected.  The second case State v. Saavedra further showed that this type of activity could be protected in a civil court, but does not mean they cannot then be prosecuted criminally for engaging in the same type of conduct.

Feature Presentation
Truth & Lies – The Science, presented by Mike Palestina of People Intell Institute, who specializes in the science of emotional skills, awareness and deception detection. Through a combination of offerings such as consulting, coaching and training, our focus is to provide immediately applicable skills to develop and improve self-awareness, emotion management and the art and science of reading people.
Mike’s presentation covered a range of topics useful for those who interact with people in difficult conversations such as sales, customer service, high stake interviews, interrogations, negotiations, purchasing, recruitment, investments, consultations, arbitration, coaching, teaching, counselling, team working, management/leadership... or just in day to day social conversations with friends and family. The average ability of untrained people to distinguish between truth and lies is 54%, no better than chance! The course defined Lies and truth and explained some of the science versus the myths around lie detection and the ability to ‘read people’.

Mike discussed a comprehensive psychological model to evaluate truth and lies, as well as how we can apply it in our daily lives as HR professionals, and members of society in general.  Mike’s five communication channels described can help this process. Much like a popular Fox television drama, Mike was able to illustrate how to recognize macro and micro facial expressions that are shown on the face.  And finally we learned how to assess our own ability to discriminate between truth and lies.