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Post University
Post University Named a 2021 Top Workplace USA
Earlier this year, Post University earned the 2021 Top Workplaces USA award, issued by Energage, a leading workplace culture research organization that develops solutions to build and brand America’s top workplaces.

“We are proud to be known as a place where associates trust the people they work with and have pride in what they do,” said Post University CEO & President John L. Hopkins. “Our culture is rooted in listening and learning from each other. That’s what guides us as our associates feel accepted, appreciated, and able to help our students achieve their full potential. The recognition as a Top Workplace is because our associates have nurtured and refined it over time.”

Mental health. Physical well-being. Diversity. Inclusion. Isolation. The list of challenges that organizations faced in 2020 was unlike any that people in the workplace have encountered before. “I am immensely proud of the associates at Post University who rally every day to keep each other focused and engaged, while also being there for our students. Our associates genuinely ‘Make It Personal’ every day,” expressed Chief Experience Office Vicki Whisenhant.

Top Workplaces USA offers national recognition for large organizations, those with more than 150 employees, and those that may have operations in multiple markets. Several thousand organizations from across the country were invited, and more than 1,100 participated in the Top Workplaces USA survey. Winners of the Top Workplaces USA list are chosen based solely on employee feedback gathered through an employee engagement survey, issued by Energage. Results are calculated by comparing the survey’s research-based statements, including 15 Culture Drivers that are proven to predict high performance against industry benchmarks.
HR Corner: To Mandate or Encourage, That is the Question of the Day
This HR Corner is Brought to you by Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey LLP. Written by: Attorney Nick Zaino

As COVID-19 vaccines become increasingly available, employers are asking with greater frequency whether they should encourage employees to get the vaccine or mandate it as a condition of employment.

On December 16, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidance stating that the COVID-19 vaccine is not considered a medical examination under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Based on this guidance, there is a general consensus that employers may require employees to be vaccinated before returning to work, subject to several exceptions. These exceptions include employees who are not able to receive the vaccine due to a medical issue, and employees who refuse to receive the vaccine due to sincerely held religious beliefs.

The full analysis of whether to adopt a mandatory vaccination policy, however, is not so simple. Employers grappling with this question should take into consideration several other legal and practical issues, such as:

1.      The three current COVID-19 vaccines have been approved through Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), which is not a full licensure under the Food and Drug Administration regulations. At least two lawsuits have been filed challenging the legality of mandatory vaccines on the grounds that the vaccines were only approved on a EUA basis.

2.     The EEOC’s guidance is one agency’s interpretation of one law, the ADA. The EEOC’s guidance does not provide employers immunity and does not prevent employees from challenging the legality of mandatory vaccinations on other constitutional, statutory, and common law grounds.

3.     While resistance to getting the vaccine appears to be diminishing, there continues to be a significant amount of vaccine hesitancy. According to a recent CNN poll, 26% of adults say they will not try to receive the vaccine. How will an employer respond if a quarter of its employees refuse to comply with a mandatory vaccination policy? 

4.     Employers who adopt a mandatory vaccination policy should treat employees who refuse to be vaccinated (not due to medical or religious reason) consistently. Will an employer treat a senior manager who refuses to be vaccinated in the same manner as an entry level employee?

5.     While the vaccines are considered safe by federal and state agencies, does an employer face legal exposure if an employee, under threat of termination of employment, reluctantly gets the vaccine and develops severe side effects? Does an employer face the possibility for adverse publicity?
These issues, and others, have prompted a vast majority of employers to encourage, rather than mandate, employees to become vaccinated. However, an increasing number of employers, particularly in the health care and education sectors, are implementing or seriously considering implementing, a mandatory vaccination policy. Each employer should conduct an individualized assessment of its business needs and workforce in making this determination.

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. 
News from the Small Business Administration
Restaurant Revitalization Fund Still Open to Applications; PPP Loan Deadline May 31
The SBA began accepting applications for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) on Monday, May 3. In the first two days of the RRF application window, the SBA has received: 

  • 186,200 applications from restaurants, bars, and other eligible businesses in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and five U.S. Territories. 

  • 97,600 applications of which came from restaurants, bars, and other eligible businesses owned and controlled by women (46,400), veterans (4,200), socially and economically disadvantaged individuals (30,800), or some combination of the three (16,200). 

  • 61,700 applications from businesses with under $500,000 in annual pre-pandemic revenue, representing some of the smallest restaurants and bars in America.  

The SBA is still accepting applications. For more information and how to apply, visit sba.gov/restaurants

The SBA is currently offering PPP loans originated only by participating community financial institutions including Certified Development Companies (CDCs), SBA Microlenders, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) until May 31, 2021 or until remaining funds are exhausted. Please note that not all community financial institutions are participating in PPP. Learn more here.

The SBA is currently accepting applications for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant. To submit an application, visit sba.gov/svogrant.
Now Seeking Nominations for the Health Care Council's Annual Awards Ceremony
Organizational Excellence Award
This award is presented to a business, civic or non-profit organization that demonstrates the best qualities of a health provider. Through exceptional commitment to safety, quality, positive outcomes, and compassionate care it exemplifies the ideals that embody excellence in everything it does. 

Leadership Award
This award is presented to an individual from the health profession who embodies the qualities required to improve healthcare in our community. Through raising awareness, initiating change, enhancing quality of care, or creating new services, the recipient has demonstrated the vision and foresight needed to create a healthier future for us all. 

Unsung Hero Award
This award is presented to a health care practitioner who has distinguished himself or herself by providing exceptional care, compassion and commitment in their daily work. They have dedicated themselves to working behind the scenes in a hands-on capacity, making a difference in the lives of those they serve.

Stephen Sasala Health Advocate Award
This award is presented to an individual or group who works outside of the health industry yet still demonstrates exceptional commitment to healthcare related issues. By using their own unique capabilities and competencies they have demonstrated an ability to improve health and influence health related issues in a positive way. Possible recipients of this award would be policy makers, business people, directors, etc.

Please submit nominations by June 7, 2021 in a Word Document to Chris Caulfield at ccaulfield@waterburychamber.com
Advertising Opportunity in the Chamber's Annual Business Directory
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 4/2/21-5/3/21
Upcoming Opportunities
Digital Duck Day Celebration
Ticket sales: Now until May 31
Virtual Celebration: June 4 @ 4 p.m.

Help support 50 area nonprofits by purchasing a ticket. Organizations keep 50% of all proceeds raised. For every ticket that you purchase, you're entered into a raffle to win one of many prizes, including $5,000 cash!
Register Your Business for an Upcoming Week!
Perks are scheduled first come, first serve.

Since the launch of the Chamber Perks program in November, more than two dozen Chamber Members have taken advantage of this exclusive member initiative that allows you a unique and creative way to market your business.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Social media marketing to more than 5,000 followers
  • Personalized eblasts to 1,000s of recipients
  • Live video and highlights posted to social media
Join us virtually on May 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. for a discussion with Pfizer's, John Burkhardt, Senior Vice President, Head of Global Drug Safety Research and Development, Head of Comparative Medicine, and Groton Site Head for Pfizer Laboratories and Jean Lee, Head of Portfolio and Project Management, as they discuss Pfizer's role during the COVID19 pandemic, vaccine development, and updates from Pfizer. There will be time for guest Q&A.

Presented in partnership with the Eastern CT Chamber of Commerce.
Connect with your Chamber Members in this quick paced digital networking event using the digital networking service Blitz. You will have the opportunity to chat and directly meet one-on-one with Chamber Members.
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.
Staples Connect Program
A new program from Staples offers EXCLUSIVE discounts at Staples stores for Chamber Members. These discounts include 20% off your in-store print & marketing services order, 10% off your in-store purchase of regularly priced items, and more!

In order to take full advantage, sign up at the link below. This link can also be accessed by logging into your member account on www.waterburychamber.com. Simply scroll down once you've logged in to view full details.
June 28: Naugatuck Chamber & YMCA Golf Outing - Limited Spaces Remain!
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, visit http://www.nrwib.org/
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.
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