In part one of this two-part series, the Jacksonville construction attorneys at Cotney Construction Law discussed the importance of enforcing company policies regarding personal conduct. We defined various types of offensive language and emphasized the importance of establishing and executing a zero-tolerance policy for workplace conduct in the age of #MeToo. Now, we will explore this issue more deeply while proposing practical solutions for limiting lewd language on your project sites.
Your Firm’s Reputation is On the Line
If someone makes a claim against you or one of your employees, it reflects poorly on your firm’s reputation. Whether this claim holds water or not, the initial hit to your reputation can stagger your business. The first thing you’ll notice is your professional peers distancing themselves from your business. Soon after, you may lose contact with your clients. All of this can happen before a verdict is even reached. The highly publicized nature of #MeToo-related incidents means that once the news about misconduct in your workplace breaks, it’s often too late to repair the damage. If an alleged incident involves an inappropriate physical interaction, your best course of action is to conduct a thorough investigation. At the conclusion of your investigation, if the allegations are determined to be accurate, you should terminate the employee.
Fixing the Problem of Lewd Language in the Workplace
Prepping your contracting firm for potential misconduct is one of the best ways to avoid the negative consequences of such a claim. The modern workplace is multicultural, multigenerational, and multilingual. Employers must develop a deep understanding of how these various groups can clash, as this is commonly the catalyst for workplace misconduct, especially involving lewd language. Different people have different ideas about what is appropriate and what is not, so it’s important to set a common standard for all employees to follow.
All expectations regarding workplace conduct, and the consequences associated with violating these expectations, should be clearly detailed in your employee handbook. If you want to ensure that your employee handbook is up to date and capable of protecting your interests, consult a Jacksonville construction attorney. An attorney can verify that your policies are clearly stated in plain language and contain definitions of what constitutes harassment and inappropriate language.
Another effective countermeasure that can be used to mitigate workplace misconduct involves retraining all supervisors and employees to instill a stronger focus on culling harassment. This involves teaching them to limit lewd language in the workplace and notifying them about the approved reporting methodologies for workplace misconduct. No worker should feel scared or ashamed to report a fellow coworker. Uncomfortable workers tend to be unproductive, so instituting an open-door policy is one way to ensure that all instances of misconduct are reported to a supervisor.
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.