Employee handbooks not only let your employee what you expect of them, it can also protect your company from legal issues. If your company does not currently have a handbook or you're looking to update your existing one, be sure to continue reading.
A Good Employee Handbook
Employee handbooks don’t need to be complicated, but good ones typically contain:
- Your Company’s Anti-Discrimination Policy
- Details of the employee’s compensation, including overtime pay, breaks, and bonuses
- Applicable laws concerning labor, termination, and background checks
- Information about benefits
- Anti-Harassment Policy
The last one, Anti-Harassment Policy, will be the focus of today’s post. Craig Martin, a partner at the law firm Lamson, Dugan, and Murray, recently wrote about this in an article titled, “Employee Handbooks- Your First Line of Defense” on Construction Contractor Advisor. In it, Martin breaks down exactly what should be included in the policy:
- Explanation of what harassment is
- Process for harassment complaints
- The company’s commitment to investigate the claim
- Anti-retaliation clause
What is Harassment?
Any continued intimidating or threatening behavior by one party to another is considered harassment. Many times, people assume the only type of harassment is sexual harassment. While it may be one of the more common forms of harassment, there are many other types, including:
- Sexual Orientation
- Race and Heritage
How the Handbook Protects Your Company
According to Martin, the employee handbook is your first line of defense in a lawsuit concerning harassment. Providing a clear statement against harassment and following through promises of investigation shows your company takes harassment very seriously and that will be taken into consideration in a lawsuit. Martin also states that training your employees on the handbook at least once a year is key to avoiding future issues.
Employee Handbooks—Your First Line of Defense | Construction Contractor Advisor
A 2018 trench collapse in Colorado lead to the death of a construction worker named Rosario “Chayo” Martinez-Lopez. Now, his employer faces manslaughter charges for his death.
Drones have been heavily used by the construction industry in recent years for anything from progress photos, to employee tracking, or calculating the volume of on-site stockpiles. Now, a report from EHS Today says that OSHA plans to employ more drones to conduct site inspections of employer facilities.
Last fall, OSHA announced its intentions to explore updating the 2016 silica dust regulations that seemingly took the construction by storm. Their intent was to gain feedback on additional dust control methods that would be suitable for hazard control, as well as on additional tasks and equipment not currently covered by Table 1 in 29 CFR 1926.1153. Last week, they announced the next step they’re taking towards revisions.
The spring of 2019 saw 3 trench collapse deaths in a span of 10 days. One at a home construction site in Colorado, another during a culvert install in Marysville, Ohio, and a third at a residential site in Sugarcreek Township, Ohio. The latter has recently received a hefty fine and penalty from OSHA.
Last year, over 130 organizations petitioned OSHA to issue a heat protection standard, citing needs for mandatory rest breaks, PPE, hydration, and monitoring. On July 10, 2019, Representative Judy Chu of California introduced H.R. 3668 to meet the organizations’ request.
In 2017, President Trump signed an executive order expanding the role of apprenticeships in America, in hopes that it would help build the workforce in many skilled trades. In late June, the US Department of Labor (DOL) announced yet another expansion, but this time it left out the construction industry.
I’ve been very fortunate over the course of my relatively short career in construction to spend time focusing on many different aspects of construction. I recently spent about two and a half years working in site development and Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) compliance on a national scale and I wanted to share some of the insights that I gained from that experience.
Construction Junkie’s annual Best Construction Podcast Competition is underway for 2019 and the voting booth is officially open. As part of the contest this year, we will be highlighting one of the contest’s nominees each week. This week we highlight The Lien Zone Podcast (TLZ).
The lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedure has been one of the critical elements of electrical safety training on construction sites for a decade. Generally, it’s pretty simple: if you need to work on an energized circuit or piece of equipment, shut down the breaker, put a lock on it so no one can turn it back on, and place a tag on it with your information. OSHA is considering updating the standard now and is currently requesting information from interested parties.
As the United States just recently suffered another tragic and deadly construction incident involving civilians after a crane collapsed in Seattle over the weekend, we’re reminded that the bridge collapse on FIU’s campus in Miami in early 2018 still has many unanswered questions.