Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

To hug or not to hug in the workplace

I think we all know the obstacles to dating and romance in both the workplace and the university place. Employers with their legal consultants draw up fraternization rules that make it damn dangerous  for employees to even engage in furtive flirting.  Consensual romance all too often is conflated with sexual harassment.  Whether romantic overtures may be wanted or unwanted by him or her, such may not matter to the employer who has zero tolerance for overtures of any sort in his workplace.  All too often such employers have been love deprived for their entire lives so recreating such a deprived environment for those for whom they  now have control over becomes for them par for the course.  Some times it is a case of the employer protecting oneself from lawsuits; other times it is the employer who engages in a lawsuit rhetoric using such rhetoric as a smokescreen to squelch any form of affection and appreciation in his workplace.  Often such just boils down to the boss doing to others what in the past was done to him or her over and over again.  In other words, work time ends up being revenge time. In some of the most cynical scenarios it is the Chief/Boss/CEO diligently expunging consensual romance while behind sealed doors engaging in flagrant sexually harassing behavior.

In work environments that are deprived of affection and ruled by a tyrannical patriarch or matriarch, even small human gestures of affection can make a difference, such as a hug now and then.  But for many of the workplace ruling class, hugging may be viewed as way out of line.  Hugging is not always welcomed, and to make sure it is welcome, the hugee may be asked to sign a form waiving ones right not to be hugged.  This following quote on workplace hugging sort of sums it all up.

“Sometimes people get comfortable with each other, and over time they become more comfortable and that may include a big hug,” said T. Ray Bennett, with American Bureau of Shipping.

But Bennett says: “Hugging is typically not necessary to get the job done, so it’s not something we feel is necessary. We suggest that’s its usually best to stay professional and stay away from that.”

If you wish, you can write to me directly at dankprofessor@msn.com
Guest commentaries should also be submitted for consideration to the same email address.

Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessor.

© Copyright 2007

October 21, 2007 Posted by | corporate dating bans, dating, ethics, fraternization, sexual politics | 2 Comments


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