If you are a construction firm with 15 or more employees, then the recent LGBTQ anti-discrimination ruling handed down by the Supreme Court applies to you. Former President Barack Obama signed an executive order back in 2014 that prevented federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of LGBTQ status, but it wasn’t universally-applicable to many of the smaller firms in certain states. Now, construction leaders need to have strong equal employment policies in place to ensure that decisions related to hiring, promotions, firing, etc. aren’t based on race, gender, religion, color, national origin, sexual orientation and transgender status. Here are some steps that firms can take to avoid violating Title VII and promote more inclusive work environments.
- Audit personnel policies. Although construction companies with fewer than 15 employees aren’t included in the new law, they are still required to provide safe, comfortable work environments. Firms with more employees should already have an Equal Employment Opportunity statement that says all applicants will be considered for construction careers regardless of race, sexual orientation, disability, etc. and will not be discriminated against during their employment.
- Make sure contracts include all employers. Since there are usually several different employers working on construction projects at any given time, it’s important that everyone is adhering to the same set of EEO policies. Contractors should be prepared to deal with complaints against the employees of subcontractors and so on. Construction recruiters help reduce these issues by sourcing only reputable and reliable candidates while adhering to EEO policies.
- Provide equal benefits. Employers will be required to treat legal same-sex marriages in the same manner as opposite-sex marriages regarding employee benefits.
- Deal with harassment complaints immediately. Construction leadership should have anti-harassment policies in place and be prepared to investigate complaints promptly.
- Provide ongoing training. Educate employees concerning homophobia, transphobia, etc., to foster an inclusive workplace.
- Create LGBTQ employee resource groups (ERGs). ERGs are great for making LGBTQ employees feel supported and a sense of belonging. Construction companies can also show their support by donating to LGBTQ groups and charities around the community.
Strong equal employment policies and diverse workforces are just a couple of things that successful construction companies have in common. Construction recruiters can be your first line of defense by clarifying that there is zero tolerance for unwelcome harassment in the workplace.
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