DON’T DO THIS: Party with vodka and strippers at work during a pandemic

The headline in the Toronto Sun read, “Sex-partying drywallers fired: Contractor.” Meanwhile, the Daily Star went with “Builders sacked after video of boozy birthday party with stripper goes viral.”

And I thought to myself that since I’m running this “DON’T DO THIS” series, and it’s been a minute since I’ve blogged about “men behaving badly” in the office, Thursday’s blog post basically just wrote itself.

To facilitate that, here’s a big block quote from another report from CBC News:

One of the [Great Toronto Area’s] largest property developers says it was “extremely inappropriate and entirely unacceptable” that workers associated with one of its dry wall contractors had a stripper at a job site last week in the middle of the pandemic.

[The homebuilder] confirmed photos of the incident that had been posted on Twitter showed several people involved with [a drywall company], all of whom have since been fired, partying with a stripper at one of its job sites on April 9. [The drywall company] itself has denounced the conduct of the workers and says it’s taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Photos included in the post show a woman interacting with multiple men at a construction site, one of whom is wearing a [drywall company] shirt. A bottle of [] vodka can be seen in one of the series of photos. 

CBC News also obtained graphic video of the incident showing at least four men watching and two men touching the woman while she dances.

CBC also reported that “nobody in the video is wearing a mask or physically distancing, despite government rules for job sites,” which strikes me as the cherry on the top of this sh*t sundae.

If there’s any silver lining here, it’s that stakeholders immediately denounced this behavior.

Reaction to the video has been swift. Among other things, the drywall company included a statement on its website denouncing the “violation of [its] company’s code of conduct and policies related to health and safety, COVID-19 protocols, workplace anti-discrimination and anti-harassment, as well as [its] general corporate philosophy and core values.”

You know, we often talk about leading by example within an organization as a way to combat this type of misogynistic behavior and other forms of discrimination. But certain traditionally male-dominated industries, like construction, can hardly afford the bad press from an incident like this.

So when a black-eye event like this happens, it takes a bigger response to control the damage.

In a separate statement, the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) “stood up for the rights of women” and “denounce[d] the conduct and actions of these men in the strongest terms.”

The statement continued:

“This type of activity is shameful, abhorrent and demeaning to women,” says 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 and we must do better.”

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