Newsletter Detail

October 2016 - MVHRA Connections





What Stops HR Professionals From Addressing Substance Abuse in Their Workplace?

By: LaTonia McCane, SHRM-CP, PHR, GBA

Fear, lack of knowledge on the subject, limited time and not knowing what resources are available are all among the various reasons that we do not address substance abuse in the workplace. How can these concerns be addressed?

What causes fear? Most of us fear what we do not understand. Fear is a natural human response which may cause avoidance. Sometimes fear emerges from our own experience. For instance, growing up in a home with a parent who struggled with alcohol may cause one to respond by being overly sensitive to this issue as an adult. We may avoid conversations or recognition of substance abuse to avoid negative feelings and hurt from our past. Being armed with knowledge about the disease of addiction can begin to break down fear and create self-awareness, leading to the opportunity to help someone with this issue. Self-awareness is often the key to understanding which leads us to the knowledge we need to take control of what we fear.

How does limited time impact our actions? We all have constant demands in the workday and juggle too many priorities. However, not addressing substance abuse in our workplaces will only add to the time drain felt already. It is very costly in both time and money to focus on an incident related to substance abuse, such as an accident, lowered productivity and absenteeism. It is much more cost effective to take the time to be educated on the subject, create pro-active policies allowing workers to come forth when they need help with addictions and allow for treatment and recovery, which in turn allows for a healthier workplace. When adding up the cost of untreated substance abuse, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states:

In 2015, about 9.8 million full-time U.S. workers — 18 and older — either abused or were addicted to drugs or alcohol in the previous 12 months, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which is conducted by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Furthermore, substance abuse is among the most costly health problems in the United States. Among national estimates of the costs of illness for 33 diseases and conditions, alcohol ranked second, tobacco ranked sixth, and drug disorders ranked seventh (National Institutes of Health [NIH], 2000).






Number of affected workers

% of workforce

Number of affected workers

% of workforce

Full-time workers

10.2 million


9.8 million


Part-time workers

3.6 million


3.2 million



2.3 million


2 million



4.3 million


3.9 million


Source: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Note: Data is for Americans 18 and older

As you can see substance abuse in the workplace needs our time and attention. Otherwise, we will miss the employee who is self-medicating or returning to work after surgery on pain medication, either of which can grow into a costly addiction. Recognizing substance abuse in the workplace alone is a wellness issue which cannot be overlooked.

What resources are available?  Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) may also offer resources. A representative from Mutual of Omaha assisted me with information for this article.  Take time to find education, treatment and recovery resources for your employees to get the assistance they need.  It will come back to you in both hidden and direct costs repeatedly and ensure a safer, more productive and well workforce.


MVHRA’s College Relations Committee is looking for professionals interested in job shadowing HR students during the first two weeks of November (October 31-November 11). We understand your time is important and appreciate your willingness to host a student.

The College Relations Committee will match your information with a student who best fits your background. To participate provide your contact information (name, company, phone, email), industry and HR function, number of students and whether you will host for a full or half day. Please list morning or afternoon if hosting for a half day.

Send to Linda Dean, Job Shadow Chair, at You will receive information about your student match the week of October 24.

We look forward to you taking part in the Job Shadow Event.  We know it will prove to be a rewarding experience for both you and your HR student.

For questions, contact Linda


By: LaTonia McCane, SHRM-CP, PHR

I have had the pleasure of serving as your chapter President this year, which includes service on the Ohio State Council of SHRM (OH SHRM) and I look forward to another year!  This provides me with the opportunity to represent us at the state level, and network with other volunteer chapter leaders throughout the state.

Ohio HR professionals are well represented! I am so proud to serve as part of OH SHRM and Miami Valley Human Resource Association.  We have a thriving, robust, diverse chapter, none of which is possible without our members and our volunteers. We have an amazing and dedicated group of Board Members.  If you have a desire to become a volunteer leader in our Association, please consider applying for a Board position.

We are now taking names for elected positions on the Board of Directors. Board members serve a two year term; service includes monthly board meetings, quarterly executive committee meetings, attending our programs and providing strategic direction and service to the Association. Terms of office begin in January 2017.

The following Board positions are up for election:

  • President
  • President-elect
  • Vice President, (Programming)
  • Membership Director
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer

A position summary is available on our website at  Go to Board of Directors > Board Volunteer Jobs and select the position of interest.  Please let our Immediate Past President  Kelly O’Connor know if you are interested in running for a position by October 21, 2016.

Thank you for your consideration.


Please join us in welcoming:

NAME                         TITLE                                                COMPANY
Carlyn McCarthy         Human Resource Specialist               Lincoln Park Manor
Andrea Spagnuolo      Benefit Analyst                                  Greater Dayton RTA
John Jackson-PHR      Accounting Manager                         Catholic Social Services
Kristen Klimowicz         HR Coordinator                                 VARtek
Mindy LaBreck            Director Administrative Services        Kettering Foundation
Michelle Monce           Recruiting Specialist                          Tyler Technologies
Tammie Wright            Human Resources Generalist            Vana Solutions, LLC
Richard Campbell       President, Sr. Consultant                   Dover Consulting Group
Joanie Krein               VP – Market Manager                       Manpower of Dayton, Inc
Derek Curlee              VP Business Development                Airrosti Rehab Centers
Casey Webster           Director of Human Resources           Hartzell Industries


Are you new to the city?  Are you looking for great HR professionals with whom to network? Interested in becoming HR certified? You’ve come to the right place!!  We are inviting new members to join MVHRA (see link below for details)!!

Did your membership expire this year and you haven’t renewed? Well, now’s your chance, renew today for only $75 for the remainder of 2016 and 2017. That’s right!

Hurry! This deal won’t last long.


Member Spotlight – Misty Bruns, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, Payless ShoeSource

By: Matt Bakota, JD, PHR, Dunlevey Mahan & Furry

Misty Bruns, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, means business when it comes to HR.  As the HR Leader for Payless ShoeSource’s Eastern Distribution Center, Misty’s team is responsible for all aspects of the HR function.  However, she described her team’s most important role as supporting the priorities of the business through the HR team members.  “The better you know the business, the stronger you will be in your HR role,” Misty said.

Misty is indeed strong in her role.  She has a bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Human Resource Management & Organizational Behavior, and a master’s degree from Xavier University in Adult Education.  Not surprisingly, Misty has a passion for talent development and thoroughly enjoys the “people development” part of her HR role, because it allows her to support her business partners, provide guidance, and watch them and the team succeed.  She also partners with her organization’s leadership to drive employee engagement and foster their growth and development.

Misty offered the following advice to those new to HR:  “Take ownership of the HR role and become a strategic business partner.  Get out and meet folks, understand the day to day operation, the customer, and the different functions within your organization.”  Holding true to her own advice, Misty has made sure to become familiar with all aspects of her organization’s business, including their products, retail management, and even global supply chain and logistics.

Away from the office, Misty enjoys spending time with her husband and two small children (ages 5 and 1), who keep them very busy.  Misty is also an avid Cincinnati Bengals fan and really enjoys all of the sports rivalries in our region.

As a recent addition to MVHRA, please welcome Misty to the group with a hearty “Who Dey!”  Of course, she’ll understand if you’re a fan of one of those rival teams and just can’t bring yourself to utter those words.  In that case, “hello” and “welcome” will do just fine.

Tell Us Your Story:  LaTonia McCane, SHRM-CP, PHR, GBA

I was fortunate to receive a scholarship from MVHRA to participate in the WSU HR certification prep class a long time ago!  The generosity from the Association has inspired me to give back to the profession and help encourage others to purse their certification as well. 

I was motivated to earn my PHR and SHRM-CP certifications because I want to be one of the best in my profession. Observing great HR professionals in action encouraged me to want to be at their same level of expertise. I have seen the value perception of my HR certification increase from my employer and many other organizations as they prefer and even require the HR Certification Institute’s and SHRM’s credentials.  I would argue that is has opened employment opportunities and provided me with professional credibility.  I am proud of my certifications and as a “life-long learner” I will continue to maintain them through the remainder of my career.

Drugs In The Workplace

By: Jeff Mullins and Jessica Lordi, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP

Medical Marijuana Now Lawful in Ohio

Ohio recently became the twenty-fifth state to legalize medical marijuana. The law sets out a series of necessary steps to establish the state’s medical marijuana program. The program is expected to be completely up and running in about two years.

One of the first steps that the law lays out, beginning in 2017, is that patients with specific medical conditions that the law lists may use oil, edible, or vapor forms of medical marijuana with an Ohio licensed and registered physician’s prescription. The listed medical conditions are fairly limited, but the one that will likely give employees the most opportunity for medical marijuana prescriptions is “pain that is chronic, severe, and intractable.”

Importantly, medical marijuana users are not permitted to smoke or grow their own marijuana under the new law.

Under federal law, medical and recreational marijuana remain illegal. The big question employers may face is: What happens when an employee’s condition falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the employee asks that the company not apply the drug policy to him/her as a reasonable accommodation because s/he is using medical marijuana for treatment.

As of now, in Ohio, the courts have stated that the ADA has an “illegal use of drug” exclusion, which says that use of illegal drugs is not a covered disability. Since Congress has made clear that the ADA defines “illegal drug use” by reference to federal law, not state law, a doctor’s prescribed marijuana use for an employee, which state law permits but federal law does not, is an illegal use of drugs under the ADA and the employee is not covered. Meaning, employers do not need to reasonably accommodate a request for exclusion from their drug policies to accommodate those employees who have a medical marijuana prescription under the new law.

For Ohio employers, there are a couple of options in terms of how to treat an employee with a prescription for medical marijuana. The most draconian of the options arises under the premise that marijuana use is still illegal at the federal level and regardless of whether an employee has a prescription or not, if an employee violates the drug policy, then s/he is subject to discipline. This approach does not violate the ADA, but employees may be fairly litigious under the new law, so there is some risk in this option.

At the other end of the spectrum, some employers may stop testing employees for marijuana use altogether due to the growing social and legal acceptance of marijuana use.

Many employers may end up somewhere in the middle, namely that they may not fire an employee for prescription marijuana use, but may discipline an employee with a prescription who arrives to work under the influence in violation of the drug policy.

New OSHA Post-Accident Drug and Alcohol Testing Rule

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced its new electronic recordkeeping rule “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” on May 12, 2016. While most employers are aware of the rule’s increased reporting requirements and the agency’s promise to publicly post injury information to its website, the rule also contains significant changes to workplace post-accident drug and alcohol testing.

For decades, it has been employers’ best practice to automatically test employees involved in certain types of workplace accidents, which OSHA considered fair and consistent because it prevented supervisors from making arbitrary or discriminatory decisions.  Under the new rule, OSHA requires that employers limit their drug testing policies to situations in which employee drug use likely contributed to the incident, and for which a drug test could accurately identify impairment.

For instance, it would not now be reasonable to drug test an employee who reports an allergic reaction, a repetitive strain injury, or an injury caused by a lack of machine guarding or malfunction.  That said, employers do not need to suspect that the reporting employee used drugs prior to testing. OSHA requires a reasonable possibility that drug use contributed to the injury or illness.

The rule also provides that:

1. Establishing incentive programs that reward employees for having no recordable workplace injuries and illnesses could violate the law.

2. Though not a new requirement, employers are not to discipline employees who do not immediately report workplace injuries.

3. Employers cannot use drug testing (or the threat of drug testing) as a form of adverse action against employees who report injuries or illnesses.

4. Employers must establish a reasonable procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses promptly and accurately.

5. “Not reasonable” means that the internal procedure would “deter or discourage a reasonable employee from accurately reporting a workplace injury or illness.”

6. Drug testing that is intended to be punitive or embarrassing to an employee is likely to deter reporting and will violate the new rule.

7. It does not impact post-accident testing that federal law mandates or that state workers’ compensation laws permit.

The rule has received strong criticism and on July 8, 2016, a group of concerned employers filed suit. The case is currently pending, but employers should monitor the outcome as it may clarify aspects of the rule. Concerns include:

1. Many states provide workers’ compensation premium reductions or other employer benefits if an employer has a Drug Free Workplace Program. Many of those programs require automatic post-injury or post-accident testing, which would now be against the law.

2. OSHA’s new rule prohibits drug testing unless the test would accurately identify a drug impairment; however, drug tests can legally show the presence of unlawful drugs but do not necessarily establish “impairment”.

3. The new rule does not contemplate what employers should do with drug tests that are subject to a collective bargaining agreement, which is not compliant with the new rule.

4. OSHA has not clarified what it means by there should be a “reasonable possibility” that drug use was a “contributing factor” to an injury or illness.

Effective November 1, 2016, employers should review their policies in the interim to correct any overbroad policies that provide for automatic drug testing.

See Your Article In Our Newsletter!

MVHRA members, do you have something to submit to the MVHRA Newsletter?  Please send it to Matt Bakota, Newsletter Committee Chair, via email at

Or maybe you’re interested in preparing an article but aren’t sure where to start?  Give Matt a call at 937-223-6003 for help in getting started.

Top Tips to Avoid a Lawsuit From Your Pregnant Employees

By: Jessica Lordi

When an employee in your office becomes pregnant, there are some common sense steps you should take to help the employee to feel at ease and to comply with the law. 

1. Know the law.

Depending on the size and location of your company, you may be subject to federal, state, and local laws governing the treatment of pregnant employees. If you have 15 or more employees, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) applies to you. If you have 50 or more employees working within a 75-mile radius of one another, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) applies to you as well. Many states and cities also have laws that apply to pregnant workers.Awareness of all pregnancy-related laws applicable to your company is key to establishing a culture of compliance.

2. Provide for pregnancy in your employee handbooks.

Always plan ahead.Update your employee handbooks with written policies addressing pregnancy. Consider the benefits and accommodations available to pregnant employees, including maternity leave and accommodations (e.g. light duty). Be sure to periodically revisit all of your policies, not just those dealing directly with pregnancy. You do not want to inadvertently accommodate non-pregnant workers while not providing those same accommodations to pregnant workers, a problem recently addressed by the Supreme Court in Young v. UPS.

In Young, Ms. Young was a part-time UPS driver. In 2006, she became pregnant and her doctor advised her not to lift more than 20 pounds because she had a history of miscarriages. UPS denied her request for a light duty assignment as an accommodation based on its policy of accommodating only those workers falling under particular categories (e.g. on-the-job injuries or disabilities). Young remained home without pay throughout the majority of her pregnancy and lost her health insurance coverage. Young sued UPS for failing to accommodate her pregnancy. The Court decided that if an employer’s policies impose a significant burden on pregnant workers and the employer’s reasons do not justify the burden (i.e. the employer has a policy that accommodates a large percentage of non-pregnant workers while failing to accommodate a large percentage of pregnant workers) then a pregnant employee could have a viable pregnancy discrimination claim against that employer.

3. Follow your policies.

Train supervisors and consistently apply all of your written policies.

4. Consider the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if your employee has a high-risk pregnancy.

If your employee has a pregnancy that is high risk or abnormal, you will need to engage in the interactive process with her just as you would with any other disabled worker. Evaluate pregnancy-related restrictions and complications under the ADA and talk directly with your pregnant worker through the interactive process to come up with a reasonable accommodation.

5. Follow the EEOC Guidance.

Follow the 2014 EEOC guidance. The 2014 EEOC guidance provides examples of pregnancy-related impairments that could lead to workplace limitations, and explains that qualifying pregnant employees may require other kinds of workplace accommodations.Such accommodations might include permission to take more frequent breaks or have a water bottle at a workstation where one would ordinarily not be permitted.

6. Communicate.

Keep lines of communication open with your supervisors and pregnant employees.

Jessica Lordi is a labor and employment attorney with Taft Stettinius & Hollister and serves on the board of the Miami Valley Human Resource Association as chair of the Government Affairs Committee.


Keep Your HR Certification(s) Current

Just a friendly reminder that the Ohio SHRM State Conference is a wonderful (and easy) way to earn both 1) PDCs for your SHRM Certification and 2) recertification credits for your HRCI Certification.

The 2016 Ohio HR Conference has been pre-approved for 18.25 SHRM Professional Development Credits (PDC) and pre- approved for 18.25 recertification credits from the HR Certification Institute. And, 2016 Ohio HR Conference attendees may earn up to 10.75 business-approved recertification credits! Note: Masters' Series attendees may earn up to 12.25 recertification credits when opting to attend Masters' Series session plus the business-approved sessions from the regular conference track.

You can still secure your Ohio SHRM State Conference registration at:

SHRM Certification exam applications are currently being accepted for the upcoming testing window (December 1, 2016 – February 15, 2017); the regular exam application deadline is October 21, 2016 and late applications (additional $75 nonrefundable fee) will be accepted through November 11, 2016.  More about the application process can be found at

HRCI Certification exam applications are currently being accepted for the upcoming testing period beginning November 1, 2016 and any day thereafter.  Effective June 20, 2016 HRCI started a continuous testing opportunity and there is no longer a deadline to apply nor do they require a specific deadline to test.  More about the application process can be found at


By Jefferson Alcott

Coming in November and December is our annual Wine Cork Pull raffle.  The way this raffle works is wine corks are purchased for $5.00 a piece or 5 for $20.00.  At the December Luncheon, 5 corks will be pulled and the lucky winners will have a choice of a bottle of wine with a retail value of about $20.00 to $25.00 dollars.  You do not have to be present to win.  Simply provide your business card, which will be wrapped around your cork.  Your chances of winning a quality bottle of wine while contributing to the SHRM Foundation is a win-win!

We also have some SHRM Foundation NEWS.  Applications are now being accepted for undergraduate scholarships ($2,500) and graduate scholarships ($5,000) for SHRM student members. In 2016 the SHRM Foundation will award more than 225 scholarships worth a total of more than $295,000. For more information visit the SHRM Foundation student scholarship page. The application deadline is November 1, 2016.


November 2016 MVHRA Professional Development Workshop

Karl R. Ulrich, Esq., Shareholder at Sebaly Shillito + Dyer and Matt Messersmith, President & CEO of Signet Screening, Inc. will present “Employee Drug & Alcohol Screening: Law & Best Practices - 2016

Session Description:
This program will cover the following critical issues:

  • Why Screen?
  • What are the Signs of Abuse?
  • Screening options: urine v. hair follicle v. oral?
  • ADA and other laws governing workplace testing: testing issues in hiring, discipline and discharge
  • What to do with employees that have a substance abuse problem?
  • What are the benefits of assistance programs?

Learning Objectives:

1. To gain a detailed understanding of the various forms of screening available for workplace testing and their relative pros and cons;

2. To gain a detailed understanding of the legal rules governing workplace drug and alcohol testing; and

3. To gain a detailed understanding of options and best practices when dealing with employees with positive screening results.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

7:45 AM to 11:15 AM

Sinclair Community College
Building 12, Ponitz Conference Center
444 West Third St.
Dayton, Ohio 45402


November 2016 MVHRA Luncheon

Theresa Busher, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist with the Social Security Administration, will present “Social Security 101: Updates & Essentials for HR Professionals

Presentation Learning Objectives:

1. Understand options for retirement benefits, such as early versus delayed filing, work limits and non-FICA pension interaction with Social Security;

2. Gain awareness of online benefit planning resources, such as interactive benefit calculators, online Retirement Planner, and the new my Social Security account; and,

3. Become better prepared to explain Medicare enrollment, disability benefits, and other Social Security benefits such as Spouse and Survivor benefits.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

11:15 AM to 1:00 PM

Sinclair Community College
Building 12, Ponitz Conference Center
444 West Third St.
Dayton, Ohio 45402


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