The #MeToo movement has become a global phenomenon affecting change across virtually every conceivable industry. Now more than ever, securing your project sites against vulgar conduct is imperative to your continued success. Project site etiquette is simply not discussed as openly as it should be. Fortunately, you can start taking steps in the right direction by limiting lewd language on your project sites.
In this two-part article, the Jacksonville construction lawyers at Cotney Construction Law will discuss the legal implications that workplace misconduct can land you in if left unmanaged while detailing the types of language that have no place on the project site. Catcalling one day can turn to sexual misconduct the next, so it’s vital that as a contractor, you maintain tight control of your project sites. Remember, depending on the circumstances, you could be partially responsible for any misconduct taking place under your vigil.
Defining the Offensive
While many argue that society as a whole has become more sensitive, a more realistic argument is that people have simply become more cognizant of the strength of words. When it comes to lewd language, what one person perceives as funny and harmless, another person could perceive as degrading or inappropriate. Subjectivity is at the root of the #MeToo movement, and as it stands, the simplest solution is to simply respect the feelings of those who feel targeted by lewd language. Some examples of unacceptable language include:
- Sexual references aimed at another employee
- Sexual references aimed at oneself in the presence of another employee
- Crude or inappropriate language used in general context
- Suggestive language with overt subtext
- Threats of violence
- Referencing one’s nationality, religion, sexuality, appearance, or gender in a degrading manner
Raising the Stakes
The world is watching closely for more #MeToo cases to pop up. In today’s climate, you can not afford to tolerate any form of misconduct in the workplace. Especially when it comes to female workers who are more likely to become the target of misconduct. Women have the right to be respected in their industry, not viewed as an object. If you allow workers to create a hostile environment for another worker, whether that worker is male or female, you could find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit.
Partnering with a Jacksonville contractor lawyer today can ensure that you have skilled legal representation for the future if an incident transpires on your project site. Additionally, you must throw away any alliances you have made with your workers if they become the target of a sexual misconduct investigation. Your contracting business is simply too valuable to be burdened by employees exhibiting a disregard for company policy.
To learn about strategies for limiting lewd language on your project sites to avoid litigation, read part two.
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.