Reopening Resources & Information
HR Corner: Given the Times, An HR Audit Would Be Prudent
This HR Corner is brought to you by Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey LLP. Written by Attorney Nick Zaino and Romania Morley*
There is no doubt that the ongoing pandemic has significantly changed the workplace. An increasing number of employees are working remotely, and there has been a high level of turnover in connection with the “Great Resignation”. We also have seen the federal government, many states—including Connecticut—and cities pass employment laws that provide greater employee rights that are reshaping the workplace.
In the dawn of this new era, employers would be well-advised to conduct a comprehensive review of their policies and employment practices. An HR audit can help an employer determine whether it: (a) is complying with the ever-changing laws; (b) is following best practices; (c) has the policies, practices and forms that it needs to run the business; and (d) has the benefits, compensation structure, and policies to competitively recruit and retain talented employees.
By examining these questions, employers will have a better understanding of what is working well, what needs improvement and where changes need to be made. Start with these major areas:
Hiring – Employers should review recruiting practices and postings to ensure compliance with discrimination laws and that they further the principles of DEI. Job descriptions should be updated and list truly essential job functions. Employment applications should be vetted for inappropriate questions and include all appropriate disclosures and notices. Employers should provide written offers of employment that include basic information about the job, an at-will statement, and indicate whether employment is subject to any contingencies such as a drug testing and/or background check. 1-9 forms must be completed, and employees should be given confidentiality and/or non-compete agreements when the offer is extended. 
Wage & Hour – Employers must ensure that there is an accurate process for recording work hours. Employers should review wage payment policies, how PTO is accrued, carryover time, and whether PTO is paid out on separation of employment. Employees must be paid on at least a bi-weekly schedule and within eight days after the end of the payroll period. Exempt/non-exempt and independent contractor classifications should be closely scrutinized. Bonus plans should be written, clear, and scrupulously followed. Employees must be paid for all compensable time worked including on-call, training, and traveling time.
Review of Personnel Policies – With recent new laws, updating the handbook is crucial. This review should include, among others: that EEO policies include new protected classes; anti-harassment policies are legally compliant; there is a proper FMLA policy; drug testing policies account for legalized marijuana; PTO policies comply with the sick leave law; and employees have signed an acknowledgement of receipt.
Posting, Record-Keeping, and Required Documentation – Ensure records are maintained for the required period. Personnel, medical, immigration and investigation files should be maintained separately. Electronic files also should have limited access and be controlled. Confidential records must be secured, marked as confidential, and disclosed on a need-to-know basis. Postings are required for FMLA, non-discrimination/harassment, electronic monitoring, OSHA, workers’ compensation, sick leave, pregnancy accommodation, and wage and hour. Employers should have toolkits for administering the FMLA and other medical leaves, and for addressing employee performance.
Analysis of the Termination Process – Having a thoughtful protocol for the termination process is critical. It is helpful to review a liability checklist, consider severance pay, address benefit information, and return of all company property.
Believe it or not, these are just some key areas to audit. A comprehensive HR audit is a smart and cost-effective way for companies to minimize their legal exposure by pro-actively managing their workforce.
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.
*Romania Morley is a non-lawyer member of the firm’s Labor and Employment group and holds an Advanced Business Certificate in Human Resource Management. She is pursuing an MBA with a concentration in Management at the University of Connecticut and preparing for the SHRM-CP exam. Romania is also a member of the firm’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Team.
In the News
Calling All Nonprofits: Raise Money
By Lynn Ward

In just a few short months, 25,000 rubber ducks will once again float down the Naugatuck River as the 17th annual Duck Race & Festival returns on June 5, 2022 to downtown Naugatuck. If you are a nonprofit organization looking for a fun and easy way to raise money for your cause, consider participating in this year’s Duck Race festivities.

“The annual Duck Race & Festival is not only a great opportunity for the community to come together and enjoy a day of fun-filled activities, but it’s also a way for the Naugatuck Chamber to give back to the region by helping nonprofits raise money for their respective organizations,” said Attorney Kevin H. McSherry of the McSherry Law Office and the Chairman of the Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce.

Each year, we hear from organizations who have participated in Duck Day and learn that they were able to raise important funds to help bridge any budget funding gaps and to better able to serve area residents.

Over the past 16 years, the Duck Race and Festival has helped more than 375 organizations raise more than $426,000 through their participation in Duck Day activities. These funds have helped organizations, both large and small. Getting involved is simple. Head to and click on the “Raise Funds” link, then fill out the form for your organization.

There is no fee for an organization to participate; instead, the Naugatuck Chamber will donate 50 percent of every ticket sale back to the nonprofit organization. Nonprofit organizations do not need to secure a minimum number of tickets to sell, nor is there maximum number of ticket sales required for a donation to be made by the Chamber to the participating nonprofit. Organizations, who will each have a personalized landing page created for them that can be shared with friends, family, and supporters, as well as on their respective social media pages, or through text or email. We help you with the legwork of promoting your causes, as the Chamber will create promotional graphics that can be used when reaching out to your contacts.

Organizations can begin selling ticket on March 30; organizations can sell either physical tickets or direct individuals to purchase them online. The last day that nonprofits can sell tickets is May 26; after that the Chamber will offer direct ticket sales until the start of the event on June 5th.

After a two year hiatus due to the pandemic, we are excited to safely bring back Duck Day to downtown Naugatuck. We are planning a host of fun activities for this year’s Duck Race festivities in addition to the Duck Race which carries a $5,000 cash first prize. This will include a decorating contest, the songs of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s performed lived by the Rubber City Band, food trucks and craft vendors, kids’ games, and a few new additions that we will be announcing in the weeks to come. Stay tuned to our social media pages for the latest announcements. 

This column originally ran in the Republican-American on Monday, February 14, 2022.
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 1/12/22 to 2/15/22

Upcoming Ribbon Cuttings
  • Thursday, February 17 at 11 a.m. - The Hub: Helping Hands with Open Hearts - 481 Wolcott Street, Waterbury
  • Thursday, April 21 at 4 p.m. - Green Wealth Management Group - 555 Heritage Road, Suite 2W - Southbury

Please join us and your fellow members for any of these upcoming events!
Free Subscriptions to the Hartford Business Journal and New Haven Biz
As part of your Waterbury Regional Chamber Membership, you can receive free subscriptions to the Hartford Business Journal and New Haven Biz publications. Click the links below to sign up today!
Upcoming Events & Opportunities
February 24: 100th Annual Naugatuck Chamber Meeting and Lewis A. Dibble Sr. Award Dinner presented by Ion Bank
The Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce will present its 2021 Lewis A. Dibble Sr. Award in February to Attorney Carlos A. Santos of Fitzpatrick | Santos | Sousa | Perugini P.C. during its 100th Annual Meeting and Lewis A. Dibble Award Dinner presented by Ion Bank.

The award, presented annually by the Chamber, recognizes an individual’s outstanding contributions to the business and the socioeconomic well-being of Naugatuck. Santos will receive the award during the Naugatuck Chamber’s 100th Annual Meeting and Lewis A. Dibble Award Dinner presented by Ion Bank on Thursday, February 24 at the Aria banquet facility, located at 45 Murphy Road in Prospect. The meeting will begin with cocktails at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards program at 6:30 p.m.

Santos, a Naugatuck native, is a personal injury, criminal law, and real estate lawyer with the firm Fitzpatrick | Santos | Sousa | Perugini P.C., which he joined in 1994. He has argued cases before the Connecticut Superior Court, Connecticut Appellate Court, and the Connecticut Supreme Court. In addition to English, he is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. Santos has also had a longtime involvement in local commercial and residential real estate development.

“Carlos has been a tremendous asset to the community, both in his professional career and in his active role mentoring youth and assisting local organizations,” said Kevin McSherry of the McSherry Law Firm, and the Chairman of the Naugatuck Chamber Board of Directors. “He gives generously and enthusiastically of his time. We are grateful for the contributions Carlos has made, and continues to make, to our community and surrounding region.”

Santos attended the local school system and is an alumnus of St. Francis in Naugatuck and Holy Cross High School in Waterbury. Santos received a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Connecticut and a Juris Doctorate from Quinnipiac University. His peers named him a Super Lawyer for 2020-21. He has been named a Top American Lawyer—representing the top 1 percent of lawyers in the state—and has earned a Readers’ Choice Award from the Citizen’s News. Along with two decades of practicing law and resolving thousands of cases, Santos is a longtime, active member in the community. He currently sits on the Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation and the Naugatuck Valley Regional Development Corporation and has served as a board member on the United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls, Our Lady of Fatima Church, and the Portuguese Sport Club of Waterbury. He has also mentored for many years in the Naugatuck school system and has coached with the Middlebury and Naugatuck Youth soccer organizations. Santos is also a co-owner of the Station Restaurant in Naugatuck.
Friday, February 25: YPOWR CEO Series Featuring Frank Monteiro
The Young Professionals of Waterbury Region present their 10th Annual CEO Speaker Series: Looking Back to Looking Forward. Join us to hear from these local business leaders on how the past two years events have shaped not only them but their business models moving forward.

In this session, engage with Frank Monteiro, President and Chief Executive Officer, Drew International and Drew Marine. 

From their humble beginnings as a local boiler water treatment supplier to a few ocean-going vessels, they have vastly expanded their onboard presence following decades of growth. Drew Marine has cemented their reputation as the premier global supplier of maintenance chemicals, refrigerant and welding gases and products, fuel management programs and services to the very same industries they so proudly serve.
Drew Marine's distinguished history, one where they brought groundbreaking water treatment programs and maintenance methods to their business partners. Several of our branded chemical products have become industry standards and actively pursue new technologies and programs to benefit their business partners.
The Young Professionals of Waterbury Region CEO speaker series provides our YP’s an up-close-and-personal exposure to decision-makers and community leaders along with a question and answer forum. Past speakers include James Smith, Chairman & CEO of Webster Bank, Robert Burns, Executive Director of The Mattatuck Museum, Sandra Vigliotti Senich, Senior Vice President of U.S. Trust Private Wealth Management, Frank Tavera, CEO Palace Theater and Carmen Romeo, President of Fascia's Chocolates.
With now here 2022 and changes in the Family Medical Leave Act and roll out of CT Paid Leave Act, equip yourself with the resources you need for your business, large or small, for the changes in the Connecticut Paid Leave program. Be sure to check out the information and learning opportunities from CT Paid Leave to help you manage the process.
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 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, visit
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