Central Vermont Chamber hosting HR legal expert to help small business

By Bill Moore

Throughout the process of creating a strategic plan, the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors identified “advocacy” as a primary focus for the Chamber.  Advocacy can take on many faces.

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Bill Moore is president and CEO of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce.

Advocacy on behalf of the business community before elected officials is a strong suit for the Chamber. We represent our members on the local, state and federal levels. We work hard to convince our elected representatives that the positions we are articulating will help to grow the economy and create jobs.

Advocacy means supporting the region’s economy by promoting our very healthy tourism sector. We attend tourism trade shows and events to entice visitors to come to Central Vermont. In addition to the Big E, we take the Chamber on the road to The New York Times Travel Writers Show, The Boston Globe Travel Show, and The Hartford Courant Travel Show.  We send out hundreds of tourism fulfillment packages every year.

By promoting our members, we are their advocates in the “shop local” arena. Our monthly business-to-business networking events bring on average 60 attendees to after-hours business mixers, all of whom are promoting their businesses and services. Last week we held our annual Business Expo offering members the opportunity to showcase their goods and services.

Another way that we advocate on behalf of the business community is to provide educational opportunities that may not normally be available locally. Last month, our newest program, “Chamber $marts and ¢ents” was “Using Social Media to Market Your Business.”

On Nov. 17, our monthly Chamber $marts and ¢ents offering will be on “Legal HR Basics.” This program will be presented by attorney Caroline Earle of the Montpelier Law Office of Caroline S. Earle, PLC.

Most businesses in Central Vermont are small businesses and may not have a fully staffed Human Resource Department. In fact, more often than not, the company’s owner also serves as the Human Resource Department for the company. The owner may not always have the most current information about changes in HR law. It is for this reason that we bring in an expert, in this case attorney Earle, to help businesses navigate the myriad of laws and regulations that fall under state and federal requirements.

This particular session will focus on the best ways to protect businesses in hiring and termination decisions. We will explore the best ways to maintain a good working relationship with employees. We will provide employer best practices in a nutshell. We will explore employee handbooks and the information that must be contained therein.

Attorney Earle is the former commissioner of Human Resources for Vermont and was also chief of the Civil Litigation Division of the Vermont Attorney General’s office. She is an adjunct professor at Vermont Law School. She has practiced in Vermont and federal courts and administrative forums for the past 23 years.

Legal HR Basics will be presented 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. on Nov. 17 in the conference center of our world headquarters, Beaulieu Place in Berlin. The cost for this important seminar is $15 for Chamber members, $20 for not-yet Chamber members, and includes a continental breakfast. Registration can be made online at centralvt.com or by email sent to info@centralvt.com, or by calling the Chamber at 802-229-5711.

If you are interested in learning more about how the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce is working to improve the region’s economy, call me at 802-229-5711, or send an email to bill@centralvt.com.

Bill Moore is president and CEO of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce.