Maintaining a safe and healthy project site is a challenge that contractors are forced to contend with each and every day. There are countless hazards on any given project site, so contractors must possess a comprehensive understanding of risk mitigation techniques and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules and requirements.
By working diligently to protect workers against hazardous substances and toxic chemicals that are linked with cancer, contractors can increase the longevity of their valued workforce and ensure that projects are completed on time and according to the design plans without any hiccups along the way. However, a contractor’s job isn’t necessarily finished when all risks are mitigated. Contractors must also be prepared to work with employees who are diagnosed with cancer and provide any accommodations needed for them to perform their job adequately.
In part one of this two-part series, the Sarasota construction attorneys at Cotney Construction Law discussed the types of cancer that pose the greatest threat to construction professionals as well as the types of construction professionals who are most at risk. Now, we will discuss the appropriate procedures for dealing with a worker who has been diagnosed with cancer.
Supporting a Worker With Cancer
Contractors should show compassion for workers who have been diagnosed with cancer. When a worker develops cancer, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will take time off work for their treatment. In fact, many workers rely on their job in construction to fund their treatment and help them get on the road to remission.
First and foremost, contractors must respect every workers’ privacy and not disclose their condition without permission. Generally, it’s best to let the worker decide whether or not they want to be open with their co-workers. In addition, contractors must be conscious of a worker’s legal protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Rehabilitation Act, and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). As long as a worker is able to complete their job-related tasks, they can’t be fired for being sick. Therefore, contractors are responsible for providing these workers with every opportunity to prove themselves and must enforce that other workers treat them equally. Abilities and qualifications dictate employment in the construction industry, not sickness.
Reasonable Accommodations for Workers With Disabilities
Since employers are required to supply reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities under the ADA, they must be considerate of what constitutes such an accommodation and what is considered undue hardship. Reasonable accommodations include:
- Providing appropriate equipment and devices
- Restructuring responsibilities
- Offering part-time or modified work schedules
- Reassigning employees to suitable, unoccupied positions
- Modifying tests, training materials, and policies
As a contractor, you value each and every employee who works hard every day to help you complete projects on time and according to the design plan. When a worker falls sick, contractors are tasked with supporting them. Failure to do so could result in a lawsuit requiring the assistance of a Sarasota construction lawyer.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.