Compliance guidance for the construction industry.

Employers in the construction industry face special challenges in complying with federal anti-discrimination and workplace safety laws. The nature of construction work, oversight by government enforcement agencies and the zeal of opportunistic plaintiffs' lawyers make it essential for construction companies to nail their compliance responsibilities.

The EEOC is actively targeting the construction industry to ensure contractors and subcontractors follow the law. In 2022 alone, the commission filed or settled at least eight cases it brought against construction companies. That's in addition to hundreds of privately filed cases brought by construction workers who sought out attorneys to represent them in court.

Harassment, bias risks

Part of the construction industry's compliance challenge is a result of the work environment. When workers perform their jobs at remote locations, it's hard for employers to enforce their anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies.

Cultural factors can pose a liability threat, too. Many constructionindustry bosses were part of a work crew before being promoted into a supervisory role. Friends often supervise friends--and may be reluctant to rein in behavior that might seem acceptable at a worksite, but that constitutes harassment and discrimination under Title VII and state and federal laws.

Construction company HR professionals must:

* Train field supervisors to prevent harassment and discrimination and report it when it does occur.

* Respond promptly when workers complain about harassment and discrimination.

* Regularly inspect worksites for obvious signs of harassment and discrimination such as offensive posters, graffiti and the like.

In addition to their anti-harassment and anti-discrimination responsibilities, construction-industry HR pros...

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