Contractors who are also business owners frequently find themselves wearing many different hats. They must be ready to go out into the field and inspect the project underway, but they must also be able to play the role of administrator of their contracting businesses. When a disgruntled client complains about a problem, they have to also be able to quickly and civilly respond to the situation.
Playing all of those roles can become wearisome, but it’s all in a day’s work for those in the contracting business.
One area where contractors may have good reason to fear to tread is resolving workers’ complaints about conditions on the job. This can indeed be a sticky wicket because the contractor’s response could be misconstrued as evidence that there is indeed a problem.
For instance, a crew member of color may complain that they have been subjected to racist or bigoted comments or actions by fellow crew members or even supervisors. The contractor should definitely investigate further to end the problem, but the investigation could potentially trigger retaliation against the complainant and widen the liability that the contractor faces.
Alternatively, jumping the gun and firing the alleged bigoted and/or racist crew members could also spark claims and potential litigation from the terminated worker(s). It’s a fine line that can be difficult to navigate, especially in the midst of a crisis.
That’s why astute business owners often turn the matter over to their legal counsels of record to ensure that everyone’s rights are preserved and that no one continues to be subjected to bullying or harassment while on the job. We can provide advice and guidance and help mitigate the fall-out from these claims.