Chamber Connection | December 2020
Reopening Resources & Information
A Message From Newsletter Sponsor,
Post University
Post University Creates Transfer Agreements with Three Massachusetts Community Colleges
Post University this fall partnered with three Massachusetts community colleges to offer seamless transfer pathways for students who are completing their associate degrees to continue their education at Post.

The articulation agreements are with Bristol Community College, Springfield Technical Community College and Holyoke Community College. Students following associate degree programs at these schools have transfer pathways to 14 different bachelor’s degree programs, including Business Administration, Accounting, Biology, Criminal Justice, and Child Studies at Post University.

“These new partnerships have been designed with the unique needs of each community college’s student population in mind,” said Post University Provost Dr. Elizabeth Johnson. “We look forward to having these students become Post Eagles through a supportive and easy transition process that allows them to keep their focus on gaining the skills and knowledge needed for their career of choice.” 

With the addition of the Massachusetts agreements, Post University now offers transfer programs with institutions across various states, including Connecticut, Rhode Island, Georgia and Washington. In September, Post reaffirmed its agreement with Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport for its criminal justice program.

HR Corner:
Can Employers Mandate the COVID-19 Vaccine?
This HR Corner is Brought to you by Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey LLP.
Written by: Stephanie E. Cummings, Esq.

Stephanie E. Cummings practices with Carmody’s Labor and Employment team and has experience in a variety of additional areas such as corporate law, personal injury, real estate, trust and estates and general civil litigation.

With the recent news that COVID-19 vaccines may be available for distribution as early as December 2020, many employers are beginning to consider how the availability of a vaccine will shape their workplace policies. Employers, under OSHA, have an obligation to provide a workplace “free of serious hazards” and that obligation has led to many employers questioning if they should require that all employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine, once available. At the time of publication, neither OSHA nor the EEOC have not directly addressed or issued any guidance on mandatory vaccine policies. 

Implementation of a mandatory vaccine policy will likely be a controversial issue within the workplace, with some employees desiring for their co-workers to be vaccinated and other employees strongly disagreeing with such a policy. Employers who are considering a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy should first carefully consider the necessity of such vaccine in the individual workplace setting.

Generally, employers are not able to require employees to vaccinate unless there is a direct business need or if failure to vaccinate would be a direct threat to the workplace. For example, a requirement for a flu vaccine is allowed in settings like hospitals and medical practices but generally not in traditional office settings. The highly contagious nature of COVID-19 may change the understanding of a “direct threat,” potentially widening the net of employers that could require vaccination. Even with this expansion, however, employers will still need to make considerations such as the necessary proximity between employees and the amount of interfacing employees are required to undertake with the public, before implementation of a vaccine mandate.

After the initial business necessity and direct threat assessment, employers still considering mandating COVID-19 vaccines should then consider the actual implementation of such policy. Employers considering this requirement will likely be responsible for the cost of the vaccine for employees and will need to develop a policy on verifying that an employee was properly vaccinated. Any record of vaccination must be treated as a medical record.

Employers considering mandatory vaccination will also need to consider potential liability of a mandate. While initial reports signal high efficiency of the vaccines the rapid development and potential unforeseen consequences leaves many concerned about receiving a vaccine so soon after its development. This raises a question as to whether a reaction from a mandated vaccine would be considered a workplace injury, opening the employer up for a workers’ compensation claim. Further, employers will want to consider what reasonable accommodations may be offered for employees who object to the vaccine due to either a religious or disability reason.

Practically, employers that have not traditionally been allowed to require vaccinations should consider strongly encouraging employees to receive a COVID19 vaccination and providing assistance to obtain the vaccine. For example, offering on-site, free vaccinations, similar to the frequent flu vaccine offerings, may encourage employees to receive the vaccine without imposing a mandate. 

Any employer seeking to craft a policy that suits their individual workplace needs should consult with their legal team to work through the many potential implications. The Labor and Employment team at Carmody is here to assist with these questions and any other employment questions your business may have.  

This information is for educational purposes only to provide general information and a general understanding of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not establish any attorney-client relationship. 
Welcome New Members:
A warm welcome to our newest members!* We encourage you to connect with them soon and see where your next partnership can be.


*Joined 11/1/2020- 12/9/2020
Upcoming Opportunities
Wake Up Your Business
December 11th @ 8 AM

Networking Meeting- Get to know others in the area and share about your business to obtain leads and grow your network!
HR Council:
Employers and the COVID-19 Vaccine
December 21st @ 11 AM

Can employers require employees to get the COVID-19 Vaccine? What are the liabilities and considerations? Join the discussion - this meeting is for employers and/or HR Professionals
Thank You for Your Support
Our sincere thanks go out to the following members who have supported our virtual event efforts over the past month through attendance donations. We could not do what we do without your support. THANK YOU!
Armando Paolino
Paolino Public Affairs Consulting, LLC

Justin Golden,
Golden Technology Services

Jayne Kelly, Ion Bank

William Palomba,
Blasius Chevrolet Cadillac

Ronald Pugliese,
Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation

Pat Rimkoski,
Synagro Northeast
Rebuild CT
The Waterbury Regional Chamber, has signed on to support an advocacy effort launched by the Connecticut Business & Industry Association called the Rebuild CT campaign. It consists of a package of 11 policy proposals that, if enacted, will help create a more positive climate for growing jobs and driving investment in our cities and infrastructure. You can read the 11 policy proposals here.
 
The act of rebuilding our state demands a change in thinking, and a bipartisan approach. We believe these forward-thinking proposals meet those goals and are a good first step in positioning our state for economic recovery.
 
Last month, CBIA mailed a copy of these proposals to every state and local lawmaker or candidate for office, asking them to take the Rebuild CT pledge. CBIA has already received signed pledges from a bipartisan group of over 70 current legislators and legislative candidates, with more coming in each day. Its next statewide digital ad will discuss various aspects of the pledge with the public, and ask viewers to question whether their public officials have signed on. You can view the video here.
 
We want your help! We need to show broad-based support across our state for these policies. We ask you or your business to take the pledge to demonstrate that support. Organizations or individual businesses that sign the pledge will appear on the RebuildCT.com website. Together, we can hold lawmakers accountable and make sure they live up to their pledge in the coming years. We hope you will join us in this effort by supporting the pledge.
Leadership Greater Waterbury
Recruiting for the Class of 2021
Apply to the Class of 2021 Today!
What is Leadership Greater Waterbury?
Leadership Greater Waterbury is a personal and career development program which creates lifelong partnerships and develops community awareness among future leaders in civic, professional and community organizations in the Greater Waterbury area. Its goal is to provide a creative, interactive environment for the participants to meet regional leaders and discuss the challenges that affect Greater Waterbury.

Why Leadership Greater Waterbury?
• Business participants are exposed to multiple perspectives regarding Greater Waterbury’s business & civic arena, community challenges, opportunities and assets.
• Opportunities to give back throughout the Greater Waterbury region.
• Participants are introduced to regional leaders and facilitators from public, private and nonprofit businesses as well as 400+ alumni.
• Personal and business coaching through behavioral assessments provided by Cipriano Training, LLC.
• Professional skill-building trainings from Dale Carnegie Training on topics such as Crisis Management, Communication, Project &Team Management, Presentation Skills, and more.
Staples Advantage Program
Hiring & Training Programs Available
Do you need help finding qualified workers for your business? Could you use some financial assistance to offset the cost of hiring and training new workers, or training your existing workforce?

The Waterbury Regional Chamber is working with the Northwest Regional Workforce Investments Board to help businesses in Greater Waterbury learn more about the available hiring and training programs and whether they qualify for them. This includes providing information on posting jobs on the states CThires.com website, as well as information about Manufacturing Innovation Fund Incumbent Worker Training, the apprenticeship program, hiring veterans and on-the-job training programs.

For more information, contact Dave Krechevsky, the Chamber's director of public policy and economic development, at dkrechevsky@waterburychamber.com
PLUS: Need a Job Now?

NeedAJobNow.usNLx.com contains over 400,000 job openings and continues to grow daily. While many employers are downsizing their staff, others are significantly increasing their hiring efforts due to current demands. Through this initiative, DirectEmployers and National Association of State Workforce Agencies offers a way to bridge the gap between job supply and demand by offering an easy way for job seekers to gain access to current open positions and for employers to fill positions quickly and efficiently during these difficult times.
RECEIVE OUR TEXT ALERTS!
Text "chamber" to (203) 496-4462 to receive a few updates or reminders from the Chamber. You can respond to any text and we will receive your response!
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