What Contractors Need to Know About Employment Equality and Diversity Regulations in Construction

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Special Viewpoints on Construction: HR series looks at DEI in construction and the compliance measures companies should be adhering to

Building diverse, inclusive and equal workplaces is a key regulatory compliance issue for businesses.

We’ve heard the words “diversity, equity and inclusion,” or DEI for short, over the past few years — especially as social justice issues have dominated headlines. Building and maintaining inclusive workplaces that celebrate equality and diversity is not just the right thing to do, it is a sound business practice that impacts revenue, growth and risk avoidance.

Companies’ human resources departments, including construction organizations, are the front lines of DEI efforts — they must adhere to a number of federal, state and local employee compliance requirements. However, effective DEI programs and compliance management is a company-wide endeavor. Our recent Viewpoints on Construction series: HR edition, provided a special focus on DEI in construction.

The Workforce DEI Regulatory Landscape

There are many DEI rules and laws to protect workers, and violation is costly (in more ways than one).

In the now on-demand virtual event, which you can watch below, Tim Tritton, vice president of compliance services with JobTarget, broke down the history of DEI measures in the United States in his keynote presentation, Getting Back to Work in 2021. Tritton discussed each notable DEI milestone over the past eight decades (dating back to the 1940s) that have applied to both federal contractors and general employers. 

Here are just a few diversity regulations in construction Tritton discusses:

He also provided an overview of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) regulations aimed at thwarting discrimination in the workplace.

In Fiscal Year 2020 (October 1, 2019 to September 20, 2020), Tritton noted the EEOC secured $439.2 million in monetary benefits for victims of discrimination by employers — resulting from more than 470,000 calls to the agency and nearly 67,500 charges of workplace discrimination. Retaliation and disability issues were the top two reasons for discrimination claims.

“If complaints come up, take them seriously. Do your investigation, communicate with the employee and don’t take adverse action against those individuals,” Tritton said.

JobTarget's Tim Tritton shares some recent noteworthy DEI related court cases during his presentations in the Viewpoints on Construction series.

The OFCCP holds those that do business with the federal government (contractors and subcontractors) responsible for complying with the legal requirement to take affirmative action and not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. So far, through the first two fiscal quarters of 2021, Tritton said the OFCCP has collected $18.5 million in remedies for protected class members noted above. In 2020, $35.6 million was collected from more than 13,000 evaluations — the second highest in history.

Tritton also reviewed a number of key recent EEOC court cases and the settlements reached.

In the on-demand presentation below, you can watch Tritton’s full keynote presentation from the Viewpoints on Construction — HR series. Additionally, this virtual event featured a presentation on Building Inclusive Workplaces by Trimble’s Nehemiah Heye, program manager for talent development and DEI, and Brenda Garcia-Leon, human resources director.

“A study showed that 65% of those who had experienced exclusionary behaviors said they would leave, or seriously consider leaving, their company if they found a different job,” Heye said. “So if we think about retention and keeping people within our organizations, we have to be committed to building inclusive environments for them to thrive in.”

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Andy is Marketing Content & PR Manager at Viewpoint. He has worked in the construction software arena since 2011. Previously, he netted multiple awards as a newspaper and trade media editor.