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Jun 26
2017

Exercising Responsibility over Employees

Posted by: Steve Marr

Tagged in: Untagged 

Recently I was talking with a contractor who said at times managing the behavior of subcontractors on the job was challenging.  For example some would toss cigarette butts on the ground and play loud music with vulgar lyrics. Many times customers complained. 

 

These issues are relatively simply resolved by asking workers to use appropriate trash cans for cigarettes and ear buds for music. In my view a customer shouldn’t be subjected to someone else’s music or talk shows when working on someone else’s property. If workers must smoke, their supervisor should be responsible to make sure they stand away from the job and do not leave cigarette butts all over the place. I’ve been annoyed when I have cleaned these up at my own house after a job.

The key point is that we are responsible for anyone who works under our authority. This is true for special contracted help as well. 

Sometimes in my work I require the use of an attorney. My perspective is that while legal counsel may need to be firm and clear, I will never accept nasty behavior. After all, the lawyer represents me and I’m responsible for the conduct of my attorney.

In my past corporate responsibilities, I was faced with a difficult choice. A manager, who was assigned a company vehicle, would stop at a bar for two or three hours, drink too much, and drive the company vehicle home. Clearly, most evenings he was driving the company vehicle under the influence of alcohol.  I knew that our organization was responsible for any accidents the person would encounter.  I was concerned that in the event of an accident, I could be called to testify and asked embarrassing and incriminating questions: 

            Did you know the person was driving consistently under the influence of alcohol?   

                        Yes, I did.  

            Why did you permit this?  

Clearly there was no good answer.  Instead, the court would tell me how large the damage claim would be.  Ultimately I had to take the company vehicle away from this person to avoid being placed in that position. Again, I was responsible for their conduct while they drove the company vehicle.

Jesus said, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31, NIV) When we employ others, we have a responsibility to be careful that they work in a way we would like if we were the customer. This includes the behavior of anyone working for us directly or indirectly.  

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