9

I ride my bike to work daily. Outside our office building, there are multiple rows of bike racks installed. For the last 3 months, there have been contractors doing work around the building, about 50 or so feet away from where I park my bike. The boundary of where the construction is has been *very* clear, and I was well outside that range, at a temporary bike rack.

While I was in the office working, a contractor left the established work area, and began working less than 2 feet away from where my bike was parked (the same place I've parked it for those 3 months). When I left work, my bike was completely coated with little bits of cement. There was still a contractor working right next to my bike when I arrived who said in a mildly frustrated tone "Don't park your bike there tomorrow".

I was flabbergasted. The audacity to say such a thing as if it was my fault, as if he was the one who was harmed, not even acknowledging the state my bike was in. As I carried non-functional bike away, I muttered "Have a nice night" and he scoffed.

There were no fences, tape, or other signage to indicate construction was taking place there when I arrived, nor when I left.

I feel as if the construction company failed their professional duty in a multitude of ways. They did not mark construction areas before beginning it, they did not clear the site, and the individual himself was very rude.

I feel like I must let my company know how incompetent I think their contractors are, and I want to receive compensation for the damage to my bike. I think that's the very least the construction company could hope for, given the numerous laws they likely violated.

However, I do not know the name of the company managing construction. I am not sure who the proper person at our company internally to reach out to is. My inclination is HR, but they are obviously not directly involved with construction, and I worry the issue would die there. Is HR the proper contact? Is there any other steps I should take as well?

5
  • 1
    This is more likely a legal question, and that means you should also specify the locale. For example, as far as I know - in general - in The Netherlands, the company or person who hired the contractors is liable for the damage (which they or their insurance company may then try to claim from the contractors). So if these contractors were hired by your employer, and you were in The Netherlands, you would claim the damages against your employer. Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 17:26
  • At this point, I am not interested in pursuing legal action, I just want it to be resolved internally. I've reached out to HR and am waiting for them to get back, but just to answer the question, I am in the united states
    – Evan
    Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 23:05
  • 2
    How do you get from "coated by little bits of cement" to "non-functional"? Was your bike dirty or damaged?
    – BestGuess
    Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 11:31
  • 3
    Sorry, I should have clarified. The bits were all within the gearing. It was impossible to peddle or turn the wheels. HR has offered to pay for repairs and claim they have reached out to the company, so it's a happy resolution in my book
    – Evan
    Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 17:28
  • 1
    @BestGuess Bikes are highly loaded machines. Non-removable abrasive contaminants like cement can reduce their efficiency by 80% and lifetime even worse, basically it's like dropping a car from a roof - even if it still drives....
    – Therac
    Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 13:55

2 Answers 2

17

Sure, Talk to HR. This is the first step. HR may point you to a third party that hires this construction company.

It could be the owner of the building that hires this construction company (if your company does not own the building and only rents the offices from the owner).

You may or may not get compensated for the damage to your bike. But, at least, if you tell HR about it, then HR may warn your coworkers about other similar issues with this ongoing construction. It may help your coworkers.

4
  • 1
    Sorry, I should have mentioned that we are the only company in the building. Accepting this answer because if anything, I can get satisfaction from knowing it could prevent the same thing from happening to someone else :)
    – Evan
    Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 1:49
  • 8
    @Evan just because you're the only company in the building doesn't mean the company owns the building. Many companies rent an entire building, either temporarily while waiting for something to be built or come on the purchase market for them or permanently because it saves them the hassle of doing building maintenance (or they simply grew and pushed out everyone else who had previously rented there).
    – jwenting
    Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 7:14
  • 3
    @Evan Let's be clear, people can't just damage your stuff. Either your company can get it fixed for you or you can take the contractor to small claims court.
    – Tiger Guy
    Commented Dec 9, 2022 at 21:36
  • 1
    You really need to start with HR, but you may need to engage with the owners of the building, if it's not your company. If the racks are on public land, likely you'll have to make a deal of this yourself. Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 1:19
14

Sure, Talk to HR. This is the first step.

No. The next step is to email HR about filing an insurance claim (and if possible property management as well). You can still talk to HR, but first email them, that establishes a paper trail. Establishing a paper trail is very important.

Ideally, as soon as you noticed the damaged or as soon as the worker said what he said to you, you should have pulled out your phone and video recorded the damage to your bike, documented the date and time, and documented the fact that there were no signs posted near where your bike was parked.

Then, you should have gone to the worker and said (and this part is important if you live in a two party consent state): "I'm sorry. You see my bike over there. It was damaged. I'm currently video recording this for documentation purposes. And I need you to inspect the damages with me. Can you do that for me please?"

"Hey man. That's fine. It's just that I'm going to send a bill to your employer. If you don't want to inspect the damages on camera, that's fine with me. But can you at least tell me the name of your employer and its contact information so I can file a claim with its insurance?"

Then, you get as much information as you can. Name of supervisor. Name of worker. Etc. It's ok if the worker doesn't want to give you all of that information, at least, you have the video of you asking for that information.

Next part, you write down/video record any contractor license # written on the side of their trucks, plus any license plate number.

In any case, don't worry if you didn't do this. But from now on, start documenting things. If you don't start documenting your grievances, you're more likely to get the brush off.

But, at least, if you tell HR about it, then HR may warn your coworkers about other similar issues with this ongoing construction. It may help your coworkers.

Also, the quicker you can show property management you're serious about filing an insurance claim (whether it's with your employer's insurance or with the contractor's insurance), the quicker property management can decide to withhold paying the final invoice from the contractor (should the contractor decide not to forward you their insurance information through them).

This is why you need to email them first, and then call them. Or if you already spoke with them, you can always memorialize your conversation via email and summarize what was said retroactively.

0

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .