Nelmar Drywall Company Ltd. has fired all employees who took part in a party involving a stripper at a home under construction at a Mattamy Homes jobsite.
The incident took place April 9 at a site in Milton, Ont. and involved an employee and subcontractors of Nelmar, one of Mattamy’s trade partners.
Mattamy called the incident “extremely inappropriate and entirely unacceptable,” in a statement.
Graphic images and video showing employees interacting with the stripper surfaced on social media and various news outlets April 15. The video and pictures show the men touching the woman while she dances while others watched, the men holding the woman inappropriately and one with a bottle of vodka. In addition, those in the video were not adhering to protocols issued by the government and public health officials regarding social distancing and wearing masks at a time when COVID-19 cases are reaching record highs.
“Mattamy had no prior knowledge of the event and none of our employees were present, but we nonetheless regret that this incident took place at one of our sites,” reads the Mattamy Homes statement.
“We hold our trade partners to a high standard and insist that they conduct themselves professionally and ethically. Those standards were not met in this case, and the individuals in question behaved in a grossly inappropriate and reckless fashion. Nelmar has terminated their relationship with everyone involved, and this is a measure that we fully support.”
The statement says Mattamy will be reinforcing its zero-tolerance policies with trade partners and setting out “clear expectations regarding workplace code of conduct as well as our strict COVID-19 protocols.”
The company is also reviewing site security procedures internally and will make adjustments where necessary.
The incident is drawing reaction from the public and the industry, including the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) which issued a statement denouncing the conduct of the men involved, calling it, “shocking, unacceptable and repulsive behaviour.”
“This type of activity is shameful, abhorrent and demeaning to women,” said Amina Dibe, manager of government and stakeholder relations at RESCON. “We are trying to attract more women and youth to the industry and an action like this only serves as a deterrent. It is unacceptable behaviour and only reinforces the stereotype of construction being a male-dominated and misogynistic industry. We have made great progress in improving the culture of construction to make it safe and welcoming for women. We’ve taken two steps forward, but this incident sets us back.”
RESCON vice-president Andrew Pariser, chair of the organization’s health and safety committee, echoes Dibe’s comments.
“These disgusting and inappropriate actions are also an afront to every health and safety professional, the medical community, and broader construction industry which has made sacrifices and worked tirelessly over the past year to comply with COVID-19 protocols, regulations and best practices,” he said. “The construction industry as a whole demands and expects better.”
The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development is also looking into the matter.
“The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development is aware of these disturbing images,” said Ryan Whealy, acting press secretary for Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, in a statement to the Daily Commercial News. “That type of behaviour is completely unacceptable and should never happen in the workplace.”
The Daily Commercial News will continue to follow this story.
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