… actually, let’s not!
Hug Your Boss Day is celebrated every year on September 13. The intention of the day is to show your boss how much you appreciate them and their support - but is it actually ok to hug your boss?
I’m going to suggest not. Especially without consent.
Not all physical contact in the workplace is inappropriate, however it is important to think about how this may be received.
Don’t initiate unwanted contact.
Some people find hugging awkward no matter the situation (my daughter!) and, in some instances, it could be considered sexual harassment.
No-one should feel coerced into any activity that makes them feel uncomfortable, no matter how innocent your intentions.
The Respect@Work Report, authored by Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, and released in March 2020, found workplace sexual harassment in Australian workplaces is prevalent, pervasive, and a workplace health and safety issue akin to bullying.
The Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Bill 2021 makes sexual harassment a sackable offence and makes clearer, under the act, that harassing a person on this basis is prohibited.
One of the recommendations which came from the Respect@Work Report identified a need for education and training for Board members and company officers on reinforcing gender equality and preventing sexual harassment.
Providing inclusion and diversity training to your team will not only help to support increased awareness surrounding appropriate behaviour in the workplace and toward your colleagues, it will support you in creating an inclusive environment that will engage and motivate your team.
Topics covered in the training include:
Why diversity is important
Workplace discrimination and harassment
Recognising discrimination in the workplace
Stereotypes and bias
Taking a proactive approach to avoid discrimination
Improving communication skills
Hug your Boss Day may have good intentions, (wanting to show appreciation and support is positive) – the impact, may not be.
With the prevalence of sexual harassment “rife in the mining industry”, physically hugging your boss (or any other colleague) is not recommended – and let’s be honest – there are many other ways of showing your support and appreciation! Maybe some choccies?