Video: Is "hugging" ever appropriate in the workplace?

Video Transcript:

Hi – Andrew Singer, Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt. Today I want to talk to you about mandatory hugging. CNN reported this week that Ted Baker, from a large UK-based retailer, has apparently a culture of required hugging. There’s a petition with at least a couple of thousand employees and customers asking for change, and reading about their culture apparently there’s a culture of touchy feely hugging as a normal behavior in the workplace, as opposed to a handshake: obviously, inappropriate in today’s workplace. I do a lot of harassment prevention training and I remember a number of years ago where a hedge fund had me in to do a training, and there was about thirty employees, about half men half women, and as they arrive for the training they all hug and kiss each other hello, as if they hadn’t seen each other for years. And when I got to the part of the training that discussed touching, feeling, hugging, kissing… there was dead silence in the room. And I think we have to be very aware that even just going up and giving someone a hug, that doesn’t mean that that’s ok, that it’s consented to. And in the workplace that’s really what we’re talking about: consent, common sense, nothing that’s forced. But let me be clear, what I’m not saying is that you can never hug anyone in the workplace ever. Use common sense, read up about Ted Baker and their culture, learn what not to do. Thank you.

In light of a growing petition to ban Ted Baker’s forced hugging policy in the workplace, employment attorney Andrew Singer addresses whether hugging is appropriate in the work environment.

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12.05.2018  |  PUBLICATION: HRMinute  |  TOPICS: Employment

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