‘Don’t touch at all': Expert's warning on appropriate workplace conduct

Drive 17/11/2018
Photo: Unsplash.

One employee’s harmless hug can be another's sexual harassment, says one expert.

Hugging and even handshakes can be tricky territory when interacting with workmates, with employment law expert Max Whitehead warning men in particularly to remain cautious.

“Do not go out and assume you can hug anybody,” Mr Whitehead told RadioLIVE.

He advises all employees to “never assume” there’s a right to hug someone, or even partake in a simple handshake. Offer a handshake, rather than assuming it’s wanted.

“People have a right to say no,” he said.

Former ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie recently accused ex-chairman Justin Milne of inappropriate touching, just weeks before firing her.

The serious allegations, while vehemently denied by Milne, have raised concerns as to how far touching can go before it’s deemed inappropriate.

But for Mr Whitehead, the key to staying out of murky territory is simple.

“My advice to men is: don’t touch. Don’t touch at all.”

Listen to the full interview with Max Whitehead above.

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