Risky Business: Human Resources And Safety Professionals Gather To Understand Best Practices

It was not in a court of law but in a room filled with 80+ construction industry  human resources and safety professionals that construction law experts  Tony Stergio, Andrews Myers, PC; Courtney Sheaffer, Peckar & Abramson, PC; and Shannon Gatlin, Cokinos | Law, offered their expertise on common issues that affect employment practices as well as jobsite incidents.

The two-hour forum on Friday, October 25, 2019 delved into sensitive topics such as employee leave processes under the Family Medical Leave, the American with Disabilities and the Texas Workers’ Compensation Acts, including employee policies, employment and termination best practices as well as the processes and repercussions of drug testing implementations and procedures.

Representing a cross-section of the commercial construction industry, AGC Houston members took notes and interacted with the attorneys who offered advice and expertise based on current and past cases. For many safety directors and superintendents, the discussions provided illuminating insight to managing field employees and engaging with their respective human resources professionals in the office. Injuries, accidents and post-accident drug testing, discrimination, sexual harassment, documentation, and termination were among the topics the attendees inquired about.

“We started this conversation to get some free legal advice!” joked Audra Athey, Cherry Companies, who moderated the forum with Manny Rodriguez, TAS Commercial Concrete.  “Safety and HR are joined at the hip - and we need to continue that open communications,” she stated. “We all face some potentially dangerous and difficult situations with employees and it’s important to understand the legal ramifications of our actions.”

Added Rodriguez: “As safety supervisors and project superintendents, we manage not only our employees but those of our subs. We need to be informed on how to deal with sensitive issues from an HR perspective.” The event’s presenters offered guidance to manage potentially risky decisions made in the field and showcased the critical importance of continuous dialogues with the HR specialists.

Resources:

All interested AGC members are welcome to attend the quarterly Employment Practices Committee meetings and monthly Safety Committee meetings. 

For more information about the EPC, contact Charlene Anthony.

 For Safety Committee information, contact Kim Mason