Contractor & Subcontractor Best Practices

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are as many as 7.2 million jobs in construction each year. Of these 7.2 million positions, many will be staffed by contractors, and some will be staffed by subcontractors. You might be wondering, what is the difference between subcontractors and contractors? A contractor is a worker who has entered a legal agreement with a client to provide goods or services required for a specific project. A subcontractor, on the other hand, typically works for the contractor by providing services for the completion of the project. Read on to learn more about the responsibilities and best practices of each party.

Avoid Discrimination at All Costs

What are the responsibilities of contractors and subcontractors? Because contractors usually report directly to a client and subcontractors do not, contractors are in a position of power when recruiting, hiring, and working with subcontractors on a project. As such, one of the greatest responsibilities is to maintain fair workplace practices, which means there is no room for discrimination. Unfortunately, some contractors have enforced personality and literacy tests, which can unjustly eliminate otherwise well-qualified workers — many of whom belong to minority groups.

Recruit a Diverse and Talented Workforce

Avoiding discrimination isn’t enough when it comes to satisfying a contractor’s responsibilities. Contractors must also make an effort to deliberately recruit a workforce that is diverse, talented, and competent. Inclusive recruiting strategies are essential when seeking and sourcing potential subcontractors. This means avoiding preferential treatment to candidates referred by word-of-mouth or only attempting to recruit men for open positions. These aren’t just unfair practices — they’re major liabilities. Construction insurance covers many liabilities, but policies may not cover claims of discrimination.

Treat Everybody in Your Workforce Equally

Just as contractors should make an honest effort to recruit fairly, you must also make an effort to manage your workplace fairly. When your workplace is a construction site, fair treatment means offering an equal number of hours and overtime opportunities to every subcontractor and delegating tasks evenly across every member of the workforce. Tasks should never be assigned based on a subcontractor’s gender, race, or age — this is another form of discrimination that can become a legal liability.

Listen to Complaints and Concerns

One of the most important ways to maintain a fair, discrimination-free workplace is to simply listen to the complaints and concerns of your workforce. This includes contractors and subcontractors alike. If you are approached by a worker who wants to discuss an issue with another worker, listen. It could be a matter of harassment that poses a liability to your company and the project. Taking the time to seriously hear workers’ concerns is the easiest way to avoid major liability incidents.

About Haughn & Associates

Founded by Michael Haughn in 1986, Haughn & Associates is a full-service, family-owned, independent insurance agency based out of Dublin, Ohio. H&A strives to provide the best possible price and unique insurance solutions across a myriad of industries, including construction, IT, Habitation & Commercial Property, Agriculture, and Engineering. Devoted to providing the best of business insurance, life and disability insurance, personal insurance, employee benefits, and bonds, H&A is proof that success lies in long-standing client relations and satisfaction. To learn more about how H&A can be of service to you, contact us at (877) 802-2278.