It’s safe to say that the world is a different place ever since the fall of Harvey Weinstein and the subsequent #MeToo movement.
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But while for the most part we’re seeing positive changes in the fight for gender equality, perhaps the latest plans to avoid sexual harassment claims are a step to far.
In light of a recent survey that found three out of four people want a total ban on physical contact in the workplace, some experts are saying that handshakes could be banned altogether to avoid any confusion.
Kate Palmer – associate director of advisory at HR consultancy Peninsula – said:
Some employers may put a complete ban on physical contact. Whether that’s going too far or not is a question I would pose, because it’s contextual. Does shaking someone’s hand go too far?
They may just say ‘no contact at all’ because there’s no grey area. It makes it simple, but it takes away affection which in some ways is a sad thing.
Kate went on to explain that in the wake of the #MeToo movement, some offices are considering more clear cut policies in order to avoid any confusion.
I haven’t seen anywhere go as far as banning shaking hands, but there may be an employer who has gone as far as that.
You’re probably safe with a handshake – unless your employer says otherwise. If there’s a rule, follow it.
That’s the most physical contact I would have with a fellow employee. Even if it’s a sensitive situation, when someone is upset I would be very mindful of a hug or putting my hand on their hand. Try to separate it from being too personal.
The HR consultant went on to suggest that employers should think about their policy for physical contact so that there are no complaints.
Here’s an idea – how about just no harassment, from men or from women? I think we’re all adult enough to know what constitutes as crossing the line, and a handshake definitely does not.
Then again, when you’ve got morons like this blurring the lines, it’s difficult to know what’s right and what’s not these days.