This week’s post was co-authored by Robinson+Cole Labor and Employment Group lawyer Emily A. Zaklukiewicz.

While employers in healthcare and education have mandated, or considered mandating, vaccination of employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, recently employers in many other industries are considering doing so. Manufacturers are now grappling with how best to evaluate the risks associated with such policies, implementation and administration of a mandatory vaccination policy, and the handling of requests for exemption, which may follow. Under federal and many state laws, employers requiring vaccination must provide employees (and applicants with job offers) with the opportunity to request an exemption from vaccination as a reasonable accommodation, based on a disability (or medical condition) or sincerely held religious belief. Employers are required to engage in an interactive process with employees to understand the request and determine whether to approve or deny it. Therefore, it is critical that employers maintain clear policies and procedures for evaluating such requests and understand their legal obligations in doing so. Of particular note, general vaccine hesitancies and personal philosophies are generally not protected by law and employers are not required to consider such exemption requests unless a state or local law provides otherwise.
Continue Reading Navigating Requests for Exemption from Mandatory Workplace Vaccination Policies

This week’s post was co-authored by Robinson+Cole Labor and Employment Group lawyer Emily A. Zaklukiewicz.

Earlier this year, we covered the topic of drug testing in the workplace. Since then, several states have passed legislation legalizing recreational use of cannabis, including Connecticut; this new law not only legalizes the recreational use of cannabis in the state, but also imposes various obligations and restrictions on employers, which are effective July 1, 2022. While certain employers in the manufacturing industry may be exempt from these employment-related restrictions in the new law, manufacturers may still be impacted.
Continue Reading Connecticut’s Recreational Marijuana Law And Its Impact on the Workplace

Below in an excerpt from an article authored by Robinson+Cole Labor and Employment Group lawyers Alisha N. SullivanAbby M. Warren and Emily A. Zaklukiewicz that was published in Industry Week on July 21, 2021.

For many months, manufacturers have been navigating issues related to the COVID-19 vaccine and its impact on the workplace.

This week’s post was co-authored by Robinson+Cole Labor and Employment Group lawyer Emily A. Zaklukiewicz.

More than one year after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, wearing face masks and social distancing continue to be the “new normal.” Manufacturers, while familiar with health and safety protocols related to their operations, have had to navigate a new set of protocols aimed at maintaining a safe workplace during the global pandemic. Widespread vaccine distribution has been underway for several months and it has prompted public health authorities and governments to begin relaxing mandates and rules related to workplace safety. Many employers, including manufacturers, are now facing the challenge of maintaining a safe workplace for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, in light of these changes.
Continue Reading Masks, Safety Measures & Manufacturers

Below is an excerpt of an article co-authored with Emily A. Zaklukiewicz, a member of Robinson+Cole’s Labor, Employment, Benefits + Immigration Group, that was published in ISHN on May 6, 2021.

Drug testing in the workplace, especially in the manufacturing industry, has become a common part of pre-employment screening and health/safety measures in

This week’s article was co-authored with Alisha N. Sullivan and Emily A. Zaklukiewicz who are members of Robinson+Cole’s Labor, Employment, Benefits + Immigration Groups.

Although millions of people in the United States have been vaccinated since COVID-19 vaccine distribution began in December 2020, a large percentage of the population still remains unvaccinated. Many lawmakers and companies are brainstorming ways to remove barriers to individuals obtaining the vaccine, especially frontline workers who remain at a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure and infection. One such barrier is the time away from work that may be required to obtain the vaccination and the risk that the time will be unpaid. Many employers, including manufacturers, are questioning whether they must, or should, provide employees with paid time off for time spent related to obtaining the COVID-19 vaccine.
Continue Reading Are Employers Required to Pay For Employee Time Spent Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine?

Below in an excerpt from an article authored by Robinson+Cole Labor and Employment Group lawyers Natale V. DiNatale and Kayla N. West that was published in Industry Week on March 5, 2021.

Within hours of his inauguration, President Biden fired the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) general counsel, Peter Robb, whose term was set to

This week’s post was co-authored by Robinson+Cole Labor and Employment Group lawyer Emily A. Zaklukiewicz.

Over the past year, employees have faced a number of challenges in light of the current pandemic, both personal and professional. Employees who are engaged in “frontline” work have been particularly impacted including those working in manufacturing facilities that have not closed and have been operating consistently over the last year. Many companies are recognizing the signs of exhaustion, burn-out and stress in their workforces and are actively searching for ways to engage, and re-engage, their frontline workers.


Continue Reading Incentivizing and Engaging “Frontline” Workers

While the presidential election may be in the past, conversations on political and social issues are not. As the new Presidential Administration takes the helm, the pandemic continues, and significant political division persists, conversations on political and social issues are commonplace in many workplaces across the country. Manufacturers are still grappling with the issue of whether and to what extent they can restrict employee speech and expression in the  workplace. Can employees discuss political or social issues at work?  What happens if it causes tension and distraction at work?  Does it matter if it occurs on working time?
Continue Reading Free Speech and Expression in the 2021 Workplace