Construction Today - Volume 16, Issue 1 - 16

LEGAL ISSUES

ZERO TOLERANCE

Be proactive about sexual harassment policies. BY BRETT SCHNEIDER AND MICHAEL KANTOR

companies need
ยป Construction
to take strong measures against
sexual harassment.

U

nless you have been living under a rock the last few months,
you have no doubt heard
about the allegations of sexual
harassment made against many high-profile personalities, including Matt Lauer, Bill
O'Reilly, Roger Ailes, Harvey Weinstein,
Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K.
However, Hollywood doesn't have a monopoly on sexual harassment, and lawsuits
have arisen in every industry.
As more and more women enter previously male-dominated industries such
as construction, employers must be very
proactive to protect themselves and their
companies from liability for employee
claims of sexual harassment.
There are three steps that can help
construction companies reduce workplace

16

CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM VOLUME 16, ISSUE 1

harassment - make a plan, communicate
the plan and make the plan work.

A Strong Strategy
Preventive measures are about more than
playing defense. If you are really committed to reducing liability for sexual harassment, you must think ahead of time
about creating a policy that states in no
uncertain terms that sexual harassment
will not be tolerated. From the foreman to
the architect, from plumbers to carpenters, every worker must know that sexual
harassment is grounds for dismissal,
regardless of title.
Your plan should also define what conduct constitutes sexual harassment and explain that swift investigation of allegations
of harassment will occur. The stereotypical

situation of a construction worker whistling
at a lady passerby can be considered sexual
harassment, and dirty jokes or questions
about someone's sex life are also out of
bounds. When a complaint arises, a plan of
action is helpful.
Consider the full field of circumstances.
What is the threshold to investigate an
issue? What is the relationship between
the complainant and the accused? What is
the relevant history? What, exactly, is the
accused alleged to have done? How long has
the inappropriate conduct been going on?
Are there any witnesses or has anyone else
been harassed? The devil is in the details in
these situations and it is nearly impossible
to spot every potential issue while responding on the fly. Making a plan ahead of time
is essential.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Construction Today - Volume 16, Issue 1

Contents
Construction Today - Volume 16, Issue 1 - Cover1
Construction Today - Volume 16, Issue 1 - Cover2
Construction Today - Volume 16, Issue 1 - 1
Construction Today - Volume 16, Issue 1 - Contents
Construction Today - Volume 16, Issue 1 - 3
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