Construction Today - Volume 16, Issue 1 - 17

Communicate the Plan
Once your policy is in place, don't keep it
a secret! Remember that briefing you get
at the beginning of every flight about the
emergency exits and your floating seat cushion? Airlines certainly don't wait until an
emergency arises to tell you how to respond
and neither should you. Disseminate your
anti-harassment policy upon hiring. Even
if you are a bringing on temporary workers,
they must be made aware, as well. This way
all of your employees are on notice that you
take this issue seriously.
Supervisors and managers should know
ahead of time what information they need
to gather and what action they need to take
if an incident of sexual harassment becomes
known or alleged.
Any employees who have been or who
are being harassed should be reassured to
know they can report the issue and it will be
dealt with. Having a policy in place can also
provide a legal defense if you are ever faced
with a lawsuit alleging that your workplace
handled sexual harassment improperly.
If you hire non-English-speaking workers,
make certain you communicate your policies
in a language they understand. If you own
a construction company, keep multiple versions of the policy manual on hand. Failure
to comprehend a policy doesn't make it legal
- but failure to state your plan effectively
and successfully can lead to more trouble.
Many employers compel workers to sign a
statement that they have received the policy
plan and understand what it means.

Enforce the Plan
Making a plan and communicating it are critical steps, but enforcement is the key to maintaining a safe work environment and
avoiding litigation. If your company has an anti-harassment policy
but fails to actually take reasonable steps to prevent and promptly
correct sexual harassment in the workplace, you will certainly face
legal repercussions. Moreover, you need to be ready ahead of time to
go a step further and make sure employees are not retaliated against
for reporting harassment, even if you determine that the reported
conduct does not violate your policy.
Stamping out unwelcome sexual conduct will require a commitment from all of us. It may not make front-page news when a
masonry worker is accused of sexually harassing a female co-worker
or a foreman makes unwanted advances to a lady electrician. But
it will cause a serious issue in the company and could make it into
print in numerous publications in the construction industry, which
would impact your business.
Recent polls show that nearly half of the working women in the
United States have experienced some form of unwanted sexual advances or harassment on the job. At the same time, only 54 percent
of respondents in a different poll believed that the recent headlines
would lead to a decrease in instances of sexual harassment.
That's a sad commentary. We might not be able to immediately
stop the Bill O'Reillys and Harvey Weinsteins of the world, but we
can have an enormous impact on the space within our reach and
in our industry. By making a plan, communicating the plan and
making the plan work we ensure that sexual harassment will not be
tolerated within our own sphere of influence.

Michael Kantor is an
associate in the Broward,
Fla., office of Weiss
Serota Helfman Cole &
Bierman. He focuses a
significant portion of his
practice on labor and
employment law.
Brett Schneider is the
managing director of the
firm's Palm Beach office
and chairs the firm's
labor and employment
practice group. He
represents public- and
private-sector employers in a wide array of
labor and employment
law matters.

17

VOLUME 16, ISSUE 1 CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM

LEGAL ISSUES

'Stamping out
unwelcome
conduct
requires a
commitment
from all of us.'


http://www.CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM

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
Construction Today - Volume 16, Issue 1 - 4
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