Is it ever ok to hug your colleagues in the workplace - Richard Fox quoted in Huff Post

25 April 2019

Richard Fox, partner and head of Kingsley Napley's Employment team was quoted in an article in Huff Post on 24 April 2019.

Richard who frequently deals with sexual misconduct issues in the workplace commented:

it is preferable for employees to suppress any natural instinct to hug, or physically touch, colleagues, rather than making others feel awkward. I am not saying that I do not recognise relationships can begin at work – I also know that people can be naturally tactile without any shred of sexual advancement involved.” 

[But] like everything else, they have to be controlled so employees who do not want to consent to touching of whatever nature, are not put at risk.”

This is such an urgent issue that employers should be developing workplace rulebooks on hugging and other similar behaviours. I suggest regular training on what is and isn’t acceptable between employees."

It is inherently risky for employers to allow any form of physical contact between employees in the future, I know many will cry foul, and believe this is an unnecessary intrusion into ‘normal’ relations between colleagues. But the fact is the law is now in a very different place to even 12 months ago.”

It is “irresponsible” for employers to allow new staff to enter a workplace without there being a culture which protects all of its employees. This guidance is especially important where there are people of different levels of seniority working together."

To view the full article published in Huff Post, please click here.  

Further information 

Our lawyers regularly blog about the issues of sexual misconduct in the workplaceIf you have any questions or require advice concerning allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace, please email a member of our team in confidence.


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