Diversity is a powerful tool that the construction industry will need to better utilize if it wishes to grow, thrive, and counter the current labor shortage. In part one of this two-part article, an Asheville construction lawyer at Cotney Construction Law discussed the many benefits that a diverse workforce can bring to a jobsite. Now, we will be looking at the programs and initiatives that construction companies can use to create a diverse and inclusive jobsite for underrepresented groups. If you are ever accused of employment discrimination, we ask that you consult with an Asheville contractor lawyer.
Diversity: It’s the Law
Under federal law, it’s illegal for an employer to discriminate against workers based on any protected characteristics including their age, race, national origin, disability, gender (including pregnancy), or religion. The labor and the laborer are all that matter. For example, contractors should extend opportunities to female construction workers, many of whom left the industry following the Great Recession. While there has been a recovery, women currently comprise only 9% of the construction workforce, with a much smaller number being employed in labor.
Breaking Down Barriers
Discrimination is the result of ignorance that must be demolished brick by brick. This can be done, in part, through reverse mentoring, which pairs senior workers with a mentee from an underrepresented group. Another resource that must be encouraged is employee networks or groups where your workers can connect with one another and rely on each other to ensure success in the workplace.
Negative attitudes towards underrepresented groups will need to change. It’s not enough to simply hire a diverse workforce; they have to be able to be themselves on the jobsite. Only then can this industry benefit from their skills and unique perspectives. For any questions regarding diversity laws in the workplace, please consult with an Asheville contractor attorney.
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.