A Message from our Chairman

Dear Chamber Member,

Are you ready for the 30th Annual Naugatuck Chamber & YMCA Golf Outing, taking place on Monday, June 24, 2024 at the Watertown Golf Club? Sponsorship is a great opportunity to show your support for the local business community. Ensure your company gets maximum marketing exposure by securing your sponsorship by May 24. Click here for more details.


The 19th Annual Duck Race and Festival is just about 50 days away! The Chamber is now accepting applications from non-profit organizations who are interested in selling Duck Race tickets as a fundraiser for their organization. To learn more about the June 2 event, visit www.duckday.com

Duck Day is a great way to show support for the Naugatuck Chamber and the local business community. For sponsorship opportunities, click here.

Thank you for your continued membership,

Chet Doheny

We Do Life Together, a Division of ICES, Inc.

Naugatuck Chamber, Chairman of the Board

In This Issue
  • Chairman's Note
  • Newest Chamber Members
  • Recent Ribbon Cuttings
  • Duck Day 2024
  • Upcoming Events
  • Submit Your Content
  • Upcoming Events
  • Hiring & Training Programs Available
  • HR Corner Corner by Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey LLP

Welcome Our Newest Naugatuck Chamber Members!

Castillo & Sons Cuisine LLC

Uniquely Cleaned

Verano / Zen Leaf Naugatuck

Members who joined 3/12/24 to 4/5/24

Post University Tuition Discount for Chamber Members

Learn more
Downloadable PDF

June 2, 2024: Duck Day

On Sunday, June 2, the beloved Duck Race and Festival returns once again to downtown Naugatuck. Now in its 19th iteration, this year’s festival promises to continue the tradition of a fun and free day of festivities for the whole family. The festival also has a wide-ranging economic impact, as ticket sales for the duck race supports regional nonprofits and a number of area businesses, vendors, crafters, food trucks, and other entrepreneurs will be on hand to market and sell their products and services to thousands of attendees.

Do you know of a local nonprofit organizations that would be interested in selling Duck Race raffle tickets to the general public as a fundraising activity for their organization? Have them register at www.duckday.com

Are you looking for a way to get involved beyond participating in the raffle? Show your support for this year’s festival by volunteering for the day of the event, becoming a sponsor, promoting your business through a vending spot, selling food, or sponsor a large rubber duck in the charitable corporate duck race. 

Sponsorship Opportunities

Upcoming Chamber Events

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Submit Your News and Social Media Content
Do you have upcoming events, company news, specials, or other-related information you'd like the Chamber to promote in our next Chamber Member newsletter or on one of our many social media platforms? You can submit your content by emailing Communications Director David Huck. Leverage the Chamber and allow us to spread your message to thousands of individuals.
Hiring & Training Programs Available

The Northwest Construction Careers Initiative

NCCI — The Northwest Construction Careers Initiative — offers Northwest Connecticut residents the opportunity to pursue a career in the construction and building trades. Job training and employment possibilities include: 

  • OSHA 10, OSHA 30, and Hazwoper certifications
  • CORE Curriculum, which includes HVAC, Plumbing and Electrical

Orientation sessions are held each Thursday at 249 Thomaston Avenue in Waterbury, CT beginning at 10AM. You do not need to RSVP to attend, but you will need to be on time to participate. 

Healthcare training program

The NRWIB is currently offering training opportunities in the following fields:

  • Patient Care Technician
  • Central Sterile Processing
  • Emergency Medical Technician
  • Certified Nurse’s Aide
  • Community Health Worker

CT WHISP Program

Connecticut Workforce & High-Tech Industry Skills Partnership (CTWhisp) Program offers a variety of IT career training at schools such as Naugatuck Valley Community College and Patrick’s Academy.

Naugatuck Valley Community College in partnership with the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board is offering grant-funded, short-term (15 weeks), IT course clusters aligned with industry certifications and supportive services. Clusters include Networking, Programming, Systems, Software and Project Management. Each IT cluster has been mapped to Microsoft and/or CompTIA certifications. The course clusters are offered free of charge to eligible CTWHISP participants. Additional services include enrollment assistance, academic advising, and employment services. In addition to gaining skills and stackable credentials, participants at NVCC will earn between 9-12 college credits that may be used towards a degree.

More Information

HR Corner: Connecticut Appellate Court Upholds Employer's Right to Discharge Medical Marijuana User Impaired at Work

This HR Corner is brought to you by Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey LLP. Written by Attorney Nick Zaino.

The Connecticut Appellate Court recently issued an important decision for employers ruling that employers may lawfully terminate employees who are impaired at work from using medical marijuana. The decision also provides helpful guidance on what facts will provide reasonable suspicion before an employer can require an employee to submit to urinalysis drug testing.

Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey attorneys Tamara Nyce and Howard Levine represented the employer in this case, Bartolotta v. Human Resources of New Britain, Inc.

Summary of Factual Findings

Human Resources Agency of New Britain (“HRA”) hired the plaintiff as a teaching assistant in its early childhood division. HRA’s employee handbook included a drug free work policy, which strictly prohibited employees from working under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol. The plaintiff signed an acknowledgment form confirming her receipt of the handbook and her responsibility to read and comply with HRA’s policies.

HRA first learned the plaintiff suffered from epilepsy after she had a seizure at work. In response, HRA developed a medical alert protocol specifically for her that documented seizure symptoms, protocols, and emergency contacts. HRA also provided the plaintiff other accommodations for her safety and the safety of students.

On January 2, 2019, a teacher observed the plaintiff call a child by the wrong name. The plaintiff told this teacher she was “just out of it,” that she used medical marijuana, and “her head is just not right from it yet.” Concerned, the teacher reported the incident to a supervisor. During HRA’s investigation, the plaintiff admitted she reported to work impaired and said the cause was taking too much marijuana.

HRA suspended the plaintiff without pay and directed her to submit to a drug test. The test was positive for Valium (a lawfully prescribed controlled substance), but negative for marijuana. When questioned about her marijuana use, the plaintiff for the first time presented her medical marijuana card and a letter from her physician stating she was prescribed marijuana to be taken each night for anxiety and seizures. The plaintiff believed the effects of her marijuana use each night would wear off by the time she reported for work.

During the investigation, another teacher reported that she observed the plaintiff to be “forgetful, droopy, and unsteady on her feet” prior to the incident. She also expressed concern regarding the safety of children in the plaintiff’s care. Yet another coworker reported that the plaintiff admitted to her the day after the incident that “she was on medical marijuana.”

HRA terminated the plaintiff’s employment on January 23, 2019 for reporting to work impaired and admitting that she could be abusing marijuana. HRA referenced its drug free workplace policy and its obligation to protect the children within its care.

The plaintiff filed a lawsuit claiming: (1) disability discrimination; (2) failure to accommodate her disability; (3) violation of the Connecticut Palliative Use of Marijuana Act (“PUMA”); and 4) that HRA conducted an unlawful drug test because it lacked reasonable suspicion to conduct test.  The Appellate Court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims.

The Court’s Decision

The Appellate Court noted that while PUMA prohibits employers from disciplining employees solely based on their status as a qualifying user of medical marijuana, it does not restrict an employer’s ability to discipline employees for being impaired during work hours. Rejecting the plaintiff’s claim that she was terminated solely on the basis of her use of medical marijuana, the Appellate Court noted: HRA initiated the investigation before the plaintiff disclosed that she used marijuana; the plaintiff understood that the investigation had nothing to do with her epilepsy, but rather concerned the dangers posed to children; the plaintiff was never told that she could not take marijuana to treat her epilepsy; and the plaintiff violated HRA’s drug free workplace policy by reporting to work impaired.

The Appellate Court also found that HRA had reasonable suspicion to require the plaintiff to submit to urinalysis drug testing based on concerns expressed by co-workers, and the plaintiff’s admission that she was impaired at work. It dismissed the disability discrimination claims finding no evidence that HRA discriminated against her due to her disability. The Appellate Court noted that HRA adopted various protocols to accommodate her disability and permitted her to possess and use Valium at work. The Appellate Court also mentioned that the plaintiff never requested an accommodation based on her use of medical marijuana.

Takeaways for Employers

The decision confirms that employers may take appropriate disciplinary action against employees who are impaired at work, even if the employee uses marijuana for medical purposes. It is important that employers have a clearly written drug free workplace policy prohibiting employees from being impaired at work and that the policy be distributed to all employees.

The policy should also indicate that employees may be required to submit to urinalysis drug testing where there is reasonable suspicion to believe the employee is impaired at work and should identify various factors the employer will consider in making this determination. Equally important is the employer being able to show that it has provided reasonable accommodations for an employee’s medical condition. Not only is this legally required, it helped HRA refute the plaintiff’s claims of disability discrimination, and that she was terminated from her employment solely because of her marijuana use. 

Nick Zaino is a partner in the firm’s Labor & Employment group.

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.

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