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Should Your Construction Firm Have a Zero-Tolerance Policy? Part 3

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In this five-part series, the Jacksonville construction attorneys at Cotney Construction Law are discussing how to successfully implement the right policies into your construction workplace. The best place to begin this process is by contacting an experienced attorney that can draft your employment contracts and assist you with many essential tasks for your projects.

In sections one and two, a Jacksonville construction attorney discussed why some construction firms create zero-tolerance policies and how to conduct a thorough investigation before you make a final decision. In this section, section four, and section five, we will discuss some of the most common reasons why a worker is immediately terminated from their position in the construction industry.  

Sexual Harassment and Discrimination

Over 60 percent of women in construction reported that they have experienced discrimination in the workplace. Whether it’s sexual harassment, gender bias, or a work culture that leaves many women “genuinely scared,” employers need to recognize that a serious problem has existed for a long time in the industry. It’s important that employers enforce workplace policies to eliminate this issue. When reported, sexual harassment allegations in the workplace should be investigated immediately and violators should be terminated from their position.

Aside from an immigrant workforce that makes up approximately 25 percent of the industry, the construction industry has struggled to produce more opportunities for people of all races and ethnicities. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is tasked with enforcing federal laws that discriminate against employees that are of a “protected characteristic” including:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • National Origin
  • Age
  • Disability

It’s important that employers establish a reporting system, investigation process, and zero-tolerance policy in regard to discrimination in the workplace. Failure to investigate a matter can result in the filing of an EEOC Charge of Discrimination.    

Drugs and Alcohol

The construction industry is currently experiencing an opioid crisis, and substance abuse in the workplace has become one of the biggest challenges for many construction firms. Because construction tasks require specialized skills, operating dangerous machinery, and working in an environment that presents many safety risks, if a worker is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, this poses an extreme safety risk to all the other workers present.

Many employers elect to perform random drug tests of their employees to ensure the workplace remains drug free. If a worker is in violation of this policy, employers should consider providing paid administrative leave and allowing the worker to return to work in an alternative position after effective treatment.

If you would like to speak with one of our Jacksonville construction attorneys, please contact us today.

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.