Skilled Lawyers Protecting Construction Industry Against Discrimination and Harassment Statewide
Whether you’re a construction worker or a building contractor, you may find yourself in distressing situations involving sexual harassment or discrimination at your workplace. These situations can arise when dealing with individual homeowners and small business owners, leading to uncomfortable and potentially perilous circumstances. In such cases, you might be subjected to harassment from various individuals, including your employer, a construction site manager, a coworker, a contractor, or even a vendor. The complex landscape of sexual harassment law in California can be daunting to navigate independently. To effectively address these challenges, it is advisable to seek the expertise of a California construction worker harassment attorney.
Sexual Harassment in Construction: A Sad Reality
In the vast landscape of the United States construction industry, which reached an estimated value of $1.8 trillion in 2022, Southern California stands as home to hundreds of thousands of construction workers. In this thriving environment, both construction workers and contractors remain in high demand, be it in the bustling world of big city commercial construction or the quieter rural and suburban areas. Contractors may either operate independently or be affiliated with larger construction firms. But amid these opportunities and growth, there looms a troubling issue that casts a shadow over the industry: on-the-job sexual harassment.
The definition of sexual harassment encompasses unwelcome or inappropriate sexual advances or behaviors, often transpiring within the workplace. This issue extends beyond physical acts to encompass verbal abuse and sexual touching. Within the construction industry, the risk of sexual harassment hangs over both contractors and construction workers. Whether working alone in someone’s home or within the confines of a larger company, the potential for experiencing sexual harassment remains a stark reality. It is in these challenging circumstances that the expertise of a California construction industry harassment attorney becomes invaluable.
Quid Pro Quo & Hostile Work Environment
Within the construction sector, two main categories of sexual harassment exist: quid pro quo and hostile work environment. Quid pro quo entails making sexual requests in exchange for favors or promises, potentially leading to victims feeling coerced into accepting offers out of fear of losing their job or facing retaliation. On the other hand, a hostile work environment refers to a workplace permeated by sexually offensive behaviors to such an extent that it becomes abusive and unproductive. Even if not directly targeted, those working within such an environment can file a sexual harassment claim with a California construction worker harassment attorney.
This pervasive issue within the construction industry affects a broad spectrum of individuals, with female employees statistically at a higher risk of sexual harassment, assault, abuse, and rape than their male counterparts. However, male contractors can also fall victim to sexual harassment and assault. Perpetrators can range from managers and supervisors to lower-ranking workers and clients.
California Construction Worker Harassment Attorney Outlines Examples Of Harassment In The Construction Industry
Sexual harassment within construction can manifest in various forms, targeting not only women but also individuals from diverse backgrounds, such as people of color, indigenous communities, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Examples of sexual harassment in construction include:
- An executive at a construction company making inappropriate advances and subsequently demoting an assistant who declines a date. Construction workers tolerating the inappropriate advances and flirtations of an older boss.
- A homeowner making inappropriate sexual jokes or teasing a construction worker during a home renovation project.
- Coworkers engaging in bullying, including sending explicit content or using offensive language.
- A vendor offering a contractor price discounts in exchange for a date or sexual favors.
In some cases, sexual harassment in construction may escalate to sexual assault, abuse, or even rape. Such crimes can occur during construction jobs or in work-related settings such as meetings and work trips.
EEOC Coming Down Hard on Construction Companies
Be mindful that workplace conduct and practices are receiving increased attention from government authorities, making the construction industry more susceptible to risk management scrutiny. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is closely monitoring these developments, and failure to prepare adequately may lead to substantial financial liabilities associated with employee interactions. We strongly advise an immediate review of your employment policies and procedures, as well as a thoughtful evaluation of your training methods.
In May 2022, the EEOC convened a Commission hearing dedicated to discrimination and harassment issues within the construction sector. This hearing aimed to identify and rectify longstanding imbalances in an industry that the EEOC believes has historically received insufficient attention in terms of equity and fairness.
The EEOC made a resolute commitment to holding the construction industry to a higher standard than in the past. As evidenced by recent legal actions, the EEOC is actively upholding this commitment by initiating lawsuits across the nation, with the intent of highlighting instances of behavior it deems necessary for the industry to rectify. With a skilled California construction worker harassment attorney, you are ensured the legal navigation help you deserve.
EEOC Lawsuit in California
Last year in September of 2022, the EEOC’s newsletter issued a press release suing The Goodsell/Wilkins Construction Company for harassment of its Latino workers. Not only were the Latino construction workers demeaned for national origin harassment including terms like “Home Depoteros” and “wetbacks”, but graffiti was also found in bathroom stalls with anti-Latino terms and offensive imagery.
The EEOC’s lawsuit additionally alleged that a supervisor engaged in sexual harassment against Latino workers by repeatedly using derogatory slurs like “whores,” displaying explicit images, and making threats of sexual assault. The EEOC asserts that Goodsell/Wilkins not only neglected to address the harassment, even after it had been reported but went further by terminating one employee for voicing their complaints and effectively forcing several others to resign from their positions.
How Can Construction Companies Address Sexual Harassment in California?
Construction companies can take proactive measures to combat sexual harassment by prioritizing training programs focused on harassment and discrimination. Bystander intervention training, for instance, equips employees to step in and support a coworker when they witness sexual harassment. Modern training initiatives often involve role-playing scenarios that prompt workers to empathize with those facing harassment, with the overarching goal of fostering a workplace culture that safeguards employees rather than undermining them. Even with these training methods in place, it remains the responsibility of management to establish clear guidelines and set an exemplary tone.
The most effective approach for construction companies to address sexual harassment is to implement a comprehensive employee policy. This policy should not only articulate explicit rules against sexual harassment and unfair discrimination but also delineate potential disciplinary measures for offenders. Furthermore, a clear method for victims to report instances of sexual harassment, whether involving themselves or a colleague, must be in place. You don’t have to endure it. Our California construction industry harassment attorney will be here to protect your rights.
Equally vital is the enforcement of these policies, as their mere existence is insufficient. Failure to do so can lead to legal action, particularly if the victim perceives that the perpetrator received a lenient punishment. Conversely, these policies can serve to retain a valuable worker when an infraction is minor. The pivotal point is that the company consistently takes the appropriate and equitable course of action when confronted with reports of sexual harassment.
Protect Yourself From Discrimination or Harassment On The Job Site
For those experiencing any form of sexual harassment, discrimination, or assault in the California construction industry, it is vital to take prompt action to protect yourself and report the harasser. State and federal laws are in place to safeguard individuals from sexual harassment, and the following steps should be taken to address the issue effectively:
- Initiate a conversation with the perpetrator, as they may be unaware of the impact of their actions.
- Document every incident meticulously, recording event details and individuals involved.
- Report the harassment to your employer or construction site manager, as established protocols should exist for handling such complaints.
- Consider filing a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing, which can investigate your claim and take remedial action.
Why Choose A California Construction Worker Harassment Attorney?
If you find yourself confronting sexual harassment in the construction field, whether as a worker or building contractor, seeking counsel from a California construction harassment lawyer is a pivotal step. We’ll help you fight back against harassment at work. These legal professionals can provide guidance on the appropriate course of action to protect your rights, pursuing justice and financial compensation if necessary. Consulting with a California construction worker harassment lawyer becomes essential in navigating these challenging circumstances and ensuring a safer and more inclusive work environment.