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  #201  
Old 05-05-2019, 06:42 AM
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"Take your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape!"
  #202  
Old 05-05-2019, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Ann Hedonia View Post
Now, there are guys out there that like to harass and discomfit women. And they know how to make a light non-sexual touch, a random greeting, or simple eye contact into full blown harassment. And that is part of the technique, they will always come back with “ all I did was touch her wrist”, “Jeez, I just said Good Morning” or “ all I did was look at her, she’s crazy”. It’s a deliberate technique.
I snipped this because I am genuinely confused. If truly all the guy did was "a light non-sexual touch, a random greeting, or simple eye contact" then how do those actions, in and of themselves, turn "into full blown harassment"? Surely the guy did something in addition to that or those things to make you feel that he is a creep.

If not, how do you tell the difference between a creep and a regular person? If so, then it is those other things that should be focused upon, not the prior activities.
  #203  
Old 05-05-2019, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
I'd like it to be like this:

"Sally, can you let me know in this context what your boundaries of touch are? Is this an issue just with Dave, or is it a wider issue?"

Then HR could help make a plan. If it's just with Dave--AND IF THERE ARE NO OTHER COMPLAINTS ABOUT DAVE--then just tell Dave, "Hey, it makes Sally uncomfortable when you touch her. Don't do that again."

If Dave complies, that's the end of it.
Even if this happened, this is why people hate HR and modern workplace policies. The first question to Sally should be if she tried to work it out with Dave or even mentioned to Dave that she had an issue with it. That is how reasonable adults attempt to resolve any problem.

Possibly a followup question asking Sally if there is any reason she would be afraid to mention it to Dave, but again, we have to presume that adults are capable of acting like adults and not treat everyone like 8 year olds on the playground.

Why does HR need to ask Sally what her "boundaries of touch" are? Presumably the company hires mentally competent people who are capable of communicating that to co-workers. After Sally's answer, should HR send a company memo out that you can touch Sally this way in this context, but certainly not in that way in that context?
  #204  
Old 05-05-2019, 07:32 AM
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You are indeed trying to diagnose me.
That's not how English works. Every "talk to your doctor about X" advertisment on the TV is also not making a diagnosis.

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You are diagnosing me as being ill because I don't want to be handled by other people willynilly.
I never addressed your wants. I addressed a physiological affect you described as resulting from unexpectd (not unwanted) touch. A well-studied phenomenon involving a brain stem response. This phenomenon is common in response to certain auditory input. It is not common in response to incidental tactile input. Most people who do not want to be touched do not experience this phenomenon.

There have been many reasons offered in this thread as to why physical contact should be minimized at work. Some better than others. This particular reason is not a good one.
  #205  
Old 05-05-2019, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Ruken View Post
I never addressed your wants. I addressed a physiological affect you described as resulting from unexpectd (not unwanted) touch. A well-studied phenomenon involving a brain stem response. This phenomenon is common in response to certain auditory input. It is not common in response to incidental tactile input. Most people who do not want to be touched do not experience this phenomenon.

There have been many reasons offered in this thread as to why physical contact should be minimized at work. Some better than others. This particular reason is not a good one.
I gotta say, Thorny has made it pretty clear that they're not down with the "see a doctor" business. Seems easy enough to respect, and continuing down that path despite knowing they're not appreciating it is emblematic.
  #206  
Old 05-05-2019, 07:57 AM
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I gotta say, Thorny has made it pretty clear that they're not down with the "see a doctor" business. Seems easy enough to respect, and continuing down that path despite knowing they're not appreciating it is emblematic.
And I'm not down with being told, multiple times, that I've written something that I've not.
  #207  
Old 05-05-2019, 08:40 AM
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I don't touch co-workers much but I sometimes quietly hum some song that's gotten into my head while reviewing charts before going into a room. If one of my co-workers is annoyed by my humming they should tell me and I'll stop, try to remember that humming near that person annoys them and stop myself in the future. There is some non-zero number of people who are annoyed by others humming.
There is a definite non-zero number of folks annoyed by whistling of any kind, compounded by the whistler breaking into song.

The likelihood of co-workers asking a whistler/singer/hummer to knock it off is inversely proportional to how much they are outranked on the food chain by such a person. A clerical worker in a physician's office probably won't tell the doc to STFU.
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness
2) If you're in a non-touching workplace, and someone touches you, it's cool to let them know what the norms are.
3) If you're in a touching workplace, and someone touches you, it's cool to let them know that you don't like it.
What if you work in a massage parlor?

Last edited by Jackmannii; 05-05-2019 at 08:44 AM.
  #208  
Old 05-05-2019, 08:53 AM
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And I'm not down with being told, multiple times, that I've written something that I've not.
You really seem to be overreacting to it though. Maybe talk to your doctor about this, huh?
  #209  
Old 05-05-2019, 09:10 AM
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What if you work in a massage parlor?
I think there's supposed to a joke there, but actually it's a great point. Any massage therapist worth their salt will ask the client to stop any touch that's uncomfortable. The norm is touching, but communication, and respect for that communication, is key. If the massage therapist screws up within norms (e.g., uses too hard pressure), then it's the touchee's job to communicate that, and the therapist will change their behavior. If the massage therapist screws up outside of norms (e.g., gropes genitals), then the therapist should face discipline/prosecution.

So, yeah, thanks I guess for the example.
  #210  
Old 05-05-2019, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
I snipped this because I am genuinely confused. If truly all the guy did was "a light non-sexual touch, a random greeting, or simple eye contact" then how do those actions, in and of themselves, turn "into full blown harassment"? Surely the guy did something in addition to that or those things to make you feel that he is a creep.

If not, how do you tell the difference between a creep and a regular person? If so, then it is those other things that should be focused upon, not the prior activities.
I was thinking of the guys that do stuff like hold eye contact for an uncomfortably long period of time or outright stare at you,or inject a sexually suggestive or hostile tone of voice into normal conversational phrases. Have you really never met that guy?
  #211  
Old 05-05-2019, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by UltraVires View Post
I snipped this because I am genuinely confused. If truly all the guy did was "a light non-sexual touch, a random greeting, or simple eye contact" then how do those actions, in and of themselves, turn "into full blown harassment"? Surely the guy did something in addition to that or those things to make you feel that he is a creep.

If not, how do you tell the difference between a creep and a regular person? If so, then it is those other things that should be focused upon, not the prior activities.
The problem is that you can have a set of "edge-case" behaviors that all together create harassment but that individually sound like you're being overly-sensitive and arrogant to even bring up (arrogant because "you think YOU are just so attractive men can't control themselves around you?). And it's a horrible catch-22: if you start listing ALL the things, you sound like a crazy psycho who is just looking for things to bitch about.

This is intensified by the fact that as a society, we give men the benefit of the doubt more than women. When a man hears a story about such a guy, he imagines his own innocuous actions being misinterpreted and he feels vicariously abashed and defensive. He can't imagine any reason he would do such a thing. So he makes incredible excuses and looks for reasons to doubt the woman's experience or her interpretation of the experience. But that Good Man who is projecting isn't the creep and doesn't understand the creep's motives because he's not a creep.
  #212  
Old 05-05-2019, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Jackmannii View Post
There is a definite non-zero number of folks annoyed by whistling of any kind, compounded by the whistler breaking into song.

The likelihood of co-workers asking a whistler/singer/hummer to knock it off is inversely proportional to how much they are outranked on the food chain by such a person. A clerical worker in a physician's office probably won't tell the doc to STFU. ...
It raises an excellent point relevant to context. There can be a mismatch between the intention of communicative touch and how it is interpreted, perhaps even more than with written and spoken words. Part of the context that can contribute to the mismatch is the perceived power levels of the members of the dyad, which may be different for the different members. (A male may feel that they are equal peers, and they are on the org chart, but the woman still feel that male is more powerful, for example.)

So sure someone who uses communicative touch should be very aware that a perceived power imbalance may set up a benignly intended non-sexual, non-aggressive touch to be misunderstood.

But that is very different than a blanket rule of no casual communicative touch without expressed consent.



Should I not hum because a person subordinate to me may be bothered but reticent to speak up? If they are afraid to confront me should they go to HR to handle the issue for them?
  #213  
Old 05-05-2019, 10:28 AM
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Good lord, people. Just because the mods are useless doesn't mean you have to dance to every dipshits tune.
Yeah, I've decided that the only response I need to make to DrDeth is best reserved for a more appropriate forum.

ETA: I apologize for this being my first post in the thread, but I was trying to read the whole thing before posting, and there was a lot of DrDeth to wade through or skip past.

Last edited by RTFirefly; 05-05-2019 at 10:31 AM.
  #214  
Old 05-05-2019, 10:55 AM
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You dont understand how HR works. They are not there to protect employees, they are their to protect (their own asses and) the company. Complainers and complainees thus are be be gotten rid of.
DrDeth, it really sounds like you've had a bad experience in the past which colors your perception of any interaction with HR. In most places they're going to handle it like Left Hand of Dorkness outlined. Assuming both Mr. McFeely and Susan are acting in good faith there's just no reason to punish anyone or get rid of either one of them. Here's a pro tip: Turnover is expensive especially when it's unexpected and depending on how long the employee has been here a lot of knowledge is walking out that door with them. Getting rid of good employees for what amounts to nothing isn't protecting the company it's making things worse.
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  #215  
Old 05-05-2019, 11:05 AM
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Even if this happened, this is why people hate HR and modern workplace policies. The first question to Sally should be if she tried to work it out with Dave or even mentioned to Dave that she had an issue with it. That is how reasonable adults attempt to resolve any problem.
That would be one of our first questions.

Quote:
Possibly a followup question asking Sally if there is any reason she would be afraid to mention it to Dave, but again, we have to presume that adults are capable of acting like adults and not treat everyone like 8 year olds on the playground.
That would certainly be one of our questions. Honestly, if anyone came in with Susan's complaint my immediate impression would be that there is more to to this than just touching a wrist. i.e. For whatever reason they don't generally get along with one another.

Quote:
Why does HR need to ask Sally what her "boundaries of touch" are? Presumably the company hires mentally competent people who are capable of communicating that to co-workers. After Sally's answer, should HR send a company memo out that you can touch Sally this way in this context, but certainly not in that way in that context?
We ask questions to get a better understanding of what's going on and where the employee is coming from. And most people who make complaints to HR really want to feel as though someone is listening to them. But, no, we're not going to send out a memo company wide regarding a single employee.
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  #216  
Old 05-05-2019, 12:04 PM
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Good lord, people. Just because the mods are useless doesn't mean you have to dance to every dipshits tune.
I'm closing this thread to evaluate later. Been a busy weekend. I know for certain however that if you want to complain about moderation, this is not the place to do it. If I'm not mistaken, you've been ramping this up lately so I will caution you that you should desist.

[/moderating]
  #217  
Old 05-05-2019, 02:56 PM
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And I'm not down with being told, multiple times, that I've written something that I've not.
This happens frequently in GD. Correcting someone's error is perfectly fine. Continuing on suggesting that someone suffers from mental illness is not appropriate however. Please don't do that.

[/moderating]
  #218  
Old 05-05-2019, 02:57 PM
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Thorny locust, I would guess that every person in the thread who isn't DrDeth gets the point you are making. (I suspect he does too.) I can't tell you what to do, but if I were you I'd question how far down the rabbit hole you want to go with him.
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Good lord, people. Just because the mods are useless doesn't mean you have to dance to every dipshits tune.
This is a warning for personal insults. If you want to rail against another poster, the Pit is the appropriate place. If you want to discuss moderation, ATMB is the appropriate place.

[/moderating]
  #219  
Old 05-05-2019, 02:58 PM
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I'm re-opening this thread because I think there is an interesting topic on what level of contact may or may not be appropriate, when, how, etc.

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  #220  
Old 05-05-2019, 04:29 PM
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I want to make it very clear- it is perfectly Ok to be annoyed or bothered by casual touching in a business environment. Just ask that they don't do that first, don't run to HR first.
  #221  
Old 05-05-2019, 05:13 PM
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I am curious. What would people like to see happen in regards to Sally's complaint? What actions if any should their employer take?
The solution was arrived at long ago. It should be obvious.

Thunderdome!

I'm a tiny bit serious though. There are often situations where there is just a natural apparent conflict that comes from competing values or goals, and the proper response is to recognize that and work around or above that, to understand it for what it is, a creative challenge. If instead the parties attempt to turn it adversarial and drag every one else into their conflict, well then it would seem they both need some remedial education on basic adult conflict resolution.

This particular example has some other potential issues mucking up the works too though. The above mentioned personal preference issue by itself should be left to grown ass adults to mediate between themselves without Odin getting involved. But it gets a little tricky when you insert power differentials. Let's explore those.

1) Gender differences. I think it is better for both genders if these are ignored. You just can't simultaneously aim to create an equal society and also claim that men are inherently more powerful and dangerous. There are plenty of badass women and weakass men. If you are afraid of a man it has nothing to do with his gender. How would two men handle the same situation? To the extent that there remains a cultural imbalance, there are obvious ways to encourage more balance like boxing for women and family leave for men.

2) Position. Even in a single gender workplace, one may feel that one must cow before ones superior, and therefore normal conflict remediation is impossible. This comes down to corporate culture. If you have a military style hierarchy and chain of command, every interaction between levels is just inherently going to have some uncomfortable subtext. There's no sense in blaming that on individual parties. Change the system. There's plenty of new more cooperative holarchy style formats to experiment with. The medium is the message. Touch in this context is just a cipher. Every element of interaction could be seen within the lens of control. There's no reason to single out physical contact as the essential conflict here.

3) General integrity. Some people just have more internal resources. The solution here is not to villfy them, but to strengthen the weaker party. Life has dealt a lot of people some damage, true. But it doesn't help anyone to encourage learned helplessness, and stick them in a box labeled "damaged goods, too fragile to deal with". Rather to the extent that there is damage, there should be equal focus and effort on healing and strengthening.
  #222  
Old 05-05-2019, 05:19 PM
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I want to make it very clear- it is perfectly Ok to be annoyed or bothered by casual touching in a business environment. Just ask that they don't do that first, don't run to HR first.
I'm in 100% agreement with this statement.

This was the exact issue that caused this to be an issue in our office in the first place.

The touching in question was so innocuous and appeared to be harmless to most at this meeting. The guy in question was not know for being a "toucher" and this had never happened before. And there was zero attempt by the woman, a peer who didn't work for the guy and was at the same level as he was, to discuss this with the guy and attempt any resolution. That was the issue that most in the office that discussed it with me had. It seemed very minor, and it became an issue when it didn't necessarily didn't have to be. There was no attempt at resolution between the two adult to adult.
  #223  
Old 05-05-2019, 05:45 PM
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Re post #204:

Kindly actually read post #186. In particular the paragraph starting "Minor point".

-- While I suppose something new might come up, I think I've said, sometimes repeatedly (see above), about what I've got to say in this thread; and/or someone else has said it for me, sometimes better.
  #224  
Old 05-05-2019, 06:22 PM
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I'm in 100% agreement with this statement.

This was the exact issue that caused this to be an issue in our office in the first place.

The touching in question was so innocuous and appeared to be harmless to most at this meeting. The guy in question was not know for being a "toucher" and this had never happened before. And there was zero attempt by the woman, a peer who didn't work for the guy and was at the same level as he was, to discuss this with the guy and attempt any resolution. That was the issue that most in the office that discussed it with me had. It seemed very minor, and it became an issue when it didn't necessarily didn't have to be. There was no attempt at resolution between the two adult to adult.
What position do you hold that you know who has reported what to HR?
  #225  
Old 05-05-2019, 06:23 PM
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I want to make it very clear- it is perfectly Ok to be annoyed or bothered by casual touching in a business environment. Just ask that they don't do that first, don't run to HR first.
Since this is being reiterated, I reiterate objections to this approach:

-People (in general) may be uncomfortable making a social complaint in a work setting
-Woman (more specifically) are uncomfortable discussing issues of touch and behavior with men
-Involving HR allows the company to assess whether there is a larger pattern of behavior that needs to be addressed.

The term "run to HR first" makes it sound like this is grade school and someone is tattling to teacher. Bodily autonomy is an important issue and that type of phrasing diminishes it.
  #226  
Old 05-05-2019, 06:29 PM
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Since this is being reiterated, I reiterate objections to this approach:

-People (in general) may be uncomfortable making a social complaint in a work setting
-Woman (more specifically) are uncomfortable discussing issues of touch and behavior with men
-Involving HR allows the company to assess whether there is a larger pattern of behavior that needs to be addressed.

The term "run to HR first" makes it sound like this is grade school and someone is tattling to teacher. Bodily autonomy is an important issue and that type of phrasing diminishes it.
Light, non-sexual touching among people you know well is a normal part of Human communication.

And "Bodily autonomy is an important issue" is false. Yes, sure, if that's your issue it's important to you. But you dont get to make the whole world change to your preferences.


But as many have told you, several times, HR is not your Friend. Unless the sitrep is dire, do not involve them.

Last edited by DrDeth; 05-05-2019 at 06:33 PM.
  #227  
Old 05-05-2019, 06:58 PM
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Light, non-sexual touching among people you know well is a normal part of Human communication.
Yes. This is why context is important. There are times when touch is appropriate and times when it isn't. Work has different rules than your home.

Quote:
And "Bodily autonomy is an important issue" is false. Yes, sure, if that's your issue it's important to you. But you dont get to make the whole world change to your preferences.
I could not disagree more. Bodily autonomy is immensely important. Does #MeToo ring a bell? What are your positions on slavery and sex trafficking? At what point are other people permitted to objection to your touches?

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But as many have told you, several times, HR is not your Friend. Unless the sitrep is dire, do not involve them.
I have outlined my reasons for involving HR, HR professionals have explained how they would handle the situation, and we have all heard your views, repeatedly, on HR. Unlike you, I would never advise anyone not to avail themselves of all resources if a situation made them uncomfortable.
  #228  
Old 05-05-2019, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Sunny Daze View Post
Since this is being reiterated, I reiterate objections to this approach:

-People (in general) may be uncomfortable making a social complaint in a work setting
-Woman (more specifically) are uncomfortable discussing issues of touch and behavior with men
-Involving HR allows the company to assess whether there is a larger pattern of behavior that needs to be addressed.
1) Because some people do not have social skills does not make it acceptable to have a company or social policy that normal communication between people is not first required before elevating a dispute. Until snowflakes came along, society has never enacted a rule or course of conduct that is tailored to the most hypersensitive person or the bottom 20% of hypersensitive people. Rules are based upon reasonable people and how reasonable people interact with each other.

It is not at all too much to ask a competent adult, even a shy adult, that if he has an issue with another person to first address it with that other person before escalating the dispute. Ninety-five percent of problems will be solved that way.

2) This is a dangerous road to go down and it feeds into the whole "women say that they want equal treatment, but they really want special treatment" argument. This is nothing more that arguing for special rules because women are too delicate to assert themselves.

3) Before investigating a "larger problem" a department, the police, or anyone should first ensure that there is a problem at all. This simple confusion or hypersensitivity by this person is not any sort of indicia of a necessity of such an investigation. It is a waste of resources and a stress on the subject of the investigation to be forced to undergo such an invasion simply because their accuser is unable to hold a conversation.

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The term "run to HR first" makes it sound like this is grade school and someone is tattling to teacher. Bodily autonomy is an important issue and that type of phrasing diminishes it.
It sounds like tattling because that is exactly what it is. The reason why we teach kids not to tattle is that part of the maturation process is to get them to attempt to solve their own issues and only reporting things to the teacher when that first attempt has failed. You know, like adults were supposed to do until recently.

And as had been mentioned before, using the term "bodily autonomy" in this situation is technically correct, but a loaded term. It brings to mind a rape or a smack on the ass as she was walking out of the meeting. It cheapens and causes dismissal of complaints of true violations of bodily autonomy when these complaints that are trivial by comparison are described with the same terms.
  #229  
Old 05-05-2019, 07:13 PM
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One way a toucher can mitigate HR punishments is by trying non-contact methods first and only touching the person if those fail. If the reason they touched was because they said "Excuse me" several times and the person didn't respond, then HR is not going to see the touching as a big problem. Or they had to touch the person because there was some imminent threat and there wasn't time to try something else. But if a person is leading off with touch as the first thing they try, I would support HR talking to them to tell them to refrain from that unless necessary. So like in the example in the OP, if the man had first tried to interrupt several times and she didn't hear him, then the touch on the wrist could be more justified. But if he just reaches over and touches her as his common way of interrupting, then that's something he probably shouldn't be doing.
  #230  
Old 05-05-2019, 07:36 PM
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And "Bodily autonomy is an important issue" is false.
Christ almighty.

Folks, a single person can suck all the oxygen out of a thread by posting dozens of times in it, especially if they say outrageous things. May I suggest that everyone, before posting, ask themselves whether they're engaging in a productive conversation?

I think that's about all I can say here.
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Originally Posted by filmore
One way a toucher can mitigate HR punishments is by trying non-contact methods first and only touching the person if those fail. If the reason they touched was because they said "Excuse me" several times and the person didn't respond, then HR is not going to see the touching as a big problem. Or they had to touch the person because there was some imminent threat and there wasn't time to try something else. But if a person is leading off with touch as the first thing they try, I would support HR talking to them to tell them to refrain from that unless necessary.
To me that seems to be coming at it from the wrong direction. Touch, when appropriate, isn't a last resort or a bad thing at all, any more than appropriate humor is. On the contrary, it can be a humanizing moment that makes the day a little better. When a coworker taps me on the arm with her fist while laughing at a story about the day, or rests his hand on my shoulder to get my attention, it's not that I'm cringing and thinking, "Why didn't he/she use her words instead?" I appreciate the touch in much the same way I appreciate a smile, or a compliment, or a joke. It's a positive social interaction that, in a very very small way, improves my day.

Instead, going to HR should be seen as a no-harm, no-foul approach. As I said before, I'm reasonably confident that my touching of co-workers isn't skeeving anyone out (and in case it seems otherwise, I'm hardly Bidening up the place; I might touch a co-worker twice a week if that, and then it's usually a tap on the shoulder). But if my principal called me in and told me someone wanted me to stop touching them, I'd be mortified, and I'd change my behavior, and of course I wouldn't get pissy and petulant about it.

Folks with different backgrounds and experiences and preferences are doing their best to be around one another and be decent and pleasant to be around. If someone makes an honest, minor mistake, they need to fix it, and the person they made a mistake to needs to forgive. HR should be able to help with that process.

And honestly I think like 99% of humans are down with that already.

Last edited by Left Hand of Dorkness; 05-05-2019 at 07:37 PM.
  #231  
Old 05-05-2019, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Touch, when appropriate, isn't a last resort or a bad thing at all, any more than appropriate humor is. On the contrary, it can be a humanizing moment that makes the day a little better. When a coworker taps me on the arm with her fist while laughing at a story about the day, or rests his hand on my shoulder to get my attention, it's not that I'm cringing and thinking, "Why didn't he/she use her words instead?" I appreciate the touch in much the same way I appreciate a smile, or a compliment, or a joke. It's a positive social interaction that, in a very very small way, improves my day.

I don't have the same feelings on that as you do. I am cringing and wondering why they put their hand on my shoulder. I don't like touch from people who are at the levels like strangers, salespeople, coworkers, acquaintances, etc. For me to find touch enjoyable the person should be at a close friend level. Even for something positive like when my manager puts his arm on my shoulder when he's giving me an award, I don't like his hand on my shoulder. I don't freak out, go to HR, or do anything about it, but I don't enjoy it. He probably thinks everyone enjoys that kind of touch because people like me don't say anything.
  #232  
Old 05-05-2019, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Sunny Daze View Post
Yes. This is why context is important. There are times when touch is appropriate and times when it isn't. Work has different rules than your home.



I could not disagree more. Bodily autonomy is immensely important. Does #MeToo ring a bell? What are your positions on slavery and sex trafficking? At what point are other people permitted to objection to your touches?
....
We're not talking about slavery and sex trafficking, we're talking about light, casual, non-sexual touching among people who know each other well. Context! As you said "This is why context is important.."

In the CONTEXT of light, casual, non-sexual touching among people who know each other well, "bodily autonomy " is not relevant or important.

Last edited by DrDeth; 05-05-2019 at 07:55 PM.
  #233  
Old 05-05-2019, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Christ almighty.

Folks, a single person can suck all the oxygen out of a thread by posting dozens of times in it, especially if they say outrageous things. May I suggest that everyone, before posting, ask themselves whether they're engaging in a productive conversation?

I think that's about all I can say here.

To me that seems to be coming at it from the wrong direction. Touch, when appropriate, isn't a last resort or a bad thing at all, any more than appropriate humor is. On the contrary, it can be a humanizing moment that makes the day a little better. When a coworker taps me on the arm with her fist while laughing at a story about the day, or rests his hand on my shoulder to get my attention, it's not that I'm cringing and thinking, "Why didn't he/she use her words instead?" I appreciate the touch in much the same way I appreciate a smile, or a compliment, or a joke. It's a positive social interaction that, in a very very small way, improves my day.

Instead, going to HR should be seen as a no-harm, no-foul approach. As I said before, I'm reasonably confident that my touching of co-workers isn't skeeving anyone out (and in case it seems otherwise, I'm hardly Bidening up the place; I might touch a co-worker twice a week if that, and then it's usually a tap on the shoulder). But if my principal called me in and told me someone wanted me to stop touching them, I'd be mortified, and I'd change my behavior, and of course I wouldn't get pissy and petulant about it.

Folks with different backgrounds and experiences and preferences are doing their best to be around one another and be decent and pleasant to be around. If someone makes an honest, minor mistake, they need to fix it, and the person they made a mistake to needs to forgive. HR should be able to help with that process.

And honestly I think like 99% of humans are down with that already.
You're taking it out of context. Here, in this thread, we're not talking about groping, pussy grabbing, penis touching, or anything where Bodily autonomy would be an important issue. It is not relevant to this thread where we are talking about light, casual, non-sexual touching among people who know each other well. That is what this discussion is about. IN THAT CONTEXT,Bodily autonomy is not relevant, just like rape laws are not relevant in a thread about shaking hands.

And I agree with most of you post here: "Touch, when appropriate, isn't a last resort or a bad thing at all, any more than appropriate humor is. On the contrary, it can be a humanizing moment that makes the day a little better. When a coworker taps me on the arm with her fist while laughing at a story about the day, or rests his hand on my shoulder to get my attention, it's not that I'm cringing and thinking, "Why didn't he/she use her words instead?" I appreciate the touch in much the same way I appreciate a smile, or a compliment, or a joke. It's a positive social interaction that, in a very very small way, improves my day." Fantastic!

But you are totally wrong about the function of HR. HR is NOT there "to help with that process." The purpose of HR is to protect the company. First, last, and always.

And sure "if my principal called me in and told me someone wanted me to stop touching them, " and it ended there, that wouldnt be so bad. But again, that's not how HR works. The person who made that complaint made what HR would consider a "silly" request, which made more work from them, and made them move to protect the company. They arent going to just ask you to stop, something the touchee w=could have done. It's gonna be documented, and go in your file. And HER file. Then if and when anything else comes up, bad things could happen. Let's assume that they just ask you to stop, you stop, and the person you touched is fine with that.

But months later some person is angry at you- maybe you voted the wrong way, got a promo they wanted, or any of a thousand things. So they go to HR and make up out of whole cloth a sexual harassment complaint. You are gone, out of there, two strikes and you're out.

or for her? She brings into HR what they consider a "silly" complaint. Later, she has a legit and serious sexual harassment complaint. Guess how they will view that?

Nothing you take to HR is minor, so dont take minor things to HR. And I am not the only one to say this, "HR is not your friend" has been said on this board a thousand times in some variation or other, by a hundred posters, over years.

But Ok, maybe you don't believe me? Here are some cites:
http://fortune.com/2018/02/16/micros...problem-metoo/
Even seasoned employees are apt to forget that HR isn’t likely to have your back when things go bad. “HR is not your friend,” says Kevin Mintzer, a prominent New York–based employment attorney. “HR is not your confidant.”

The reason for that is obvious if you stop and think about it: As nice and well-meaning as they may be, your colleagues in HR don’t work for you. Management signs their paychecks, and their No. 1 priority is to serve and protect the company. The “resources” in question are there for the benefit of the executive team, not the average worker. Indeed, the idea that HR isn’t your buddy isn’t exactly a novel one.


https://www.inc.com/jt-odonnell/what...ing-to-hr.html
As they say, "you can forgive, but never forget."

I have to be honest, if you've got a grievance that is so bad you feel you must go on the record with HR, then it's likely you aren't going to want to work there long-term. It may be better for you personally and professionally to move on and find a new employer where you aren't constantly reminded of a bad situation. While there are plenty of cases of companies taking swift, appropriate action and employees going on to have successful careers, there are just as many claims that end up with the employee moving on so they can start fresh someplace else.


https://www.marketplace.org/2017/10/...loyee-employer
HR is not there to be your friend. It’s there to protect the company...Turns out, the role of HR was never to protect employees. Their number one priority was always to protect the company.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/hr-is...b0432b8c11ea91
The moderator asked, “Couldn’t some of these women have gone to their HR department to file a formal complaint?” The response: “HR is not your friend.”

There it was. The core issue. “HR is there mainly to protect the company. Not you.” The inconvenient truth.


https://www.cbsnews.com/news/when-yo...s-your-friend/
I get a number of emails from people who have problems at work, go to HR and end up worse off than they were previously. Why is that? Shouldn't HR step in and fix problems?

Yes, and no. There are times you should absolutely ask and expect HR to help you out, but there are other times when going to HR may not be your best move. ..When you must not go to HR

You've done nothing to solve the problem yourself. HR is not like a playground teacher whose job it is to solve all problems and stop bullies from acting. If your coworker chomps on gum all day, driving you to distraction, don't come to HR until you've mentioned it to her...You want other people to change. We all want other people to change, but if the problem isn't actually a legal one, you're going to have far better luck if you come to HR with the question of "what can I do differently" rather than "can you make Jane behave differently."




https://money.usnews.com/money/blogs...n-you-shouldnt
HOW OFTEN HAVE YOU thought to yourself: "I'm upset about this situation at work. I wonder if I should talk to HR." Or maybe you've advised friends or relatives that they should consult human resources about a problem they're having at work.

As a workplace advice columnist, I spend a lot of time telling people that HR isn't the right place to take their concerns about their jobs or their bosses. Too often, people mistakenly think HR is a neutral referee that's there to mediate problems with co-workers or managers. In most cases, however, it's more effective to try to resolve problems with the person causing the conflict, and a good HR department will direct you to do that.

HR isn't there to deliver awkward messages to co-workers on your behalf, such as "stop talking so loudly" or "pull your own weight." ..But not... when you have trouble getting along with your manager or co-workers. Those issues, while legitimate problems, aren't ones that most HR departments will resolve for you.


https://jonidaniels.com/to-go-or-not...-the-question/
HR can help resolve issues professionally, objectively and legally. Or they can make the problem worse. Which shouldn’t happen because HR is supposed to fix problems – right?

Yes they are and no they are not. It depends on the problem. There are
situations where HR should absolutely, definitely, without a doubt be brought in to help out. There are other times when it is not the best option.

People are often under the mistaken belief that HR is a neutral space that helps people resolve conflict. Or maybe they help those who come to them, because those people are in the right. HR isn’t in the business to deliver difficult messages to others on someone’s behalf, or be the champion of the person who thinks their boss is being unfair...When should HR not be involved?
If you have done nothing to resolve the issue yourself, don’t run to HR. They are not the ‘Mom and Dad’ of the workplace, there to resolve all interpersonal disputes for you. If you think the behavior of a coworker or your boss is wrong, don’t come to HR before you’ve said anything to the boss or coworker about it.


There you go. Expert after expert, article after article that tell you "HR is not your friend" and "If you have done nothing to resolve the issue yourself, don’t run to HR. They are not the ‘Mom and Dad’ of the workplace, there to resolve all interpersonal disputes for you....When you must not go to HR- You've done nothing to solve the problem yourself. HR is not like a playground teacher whose job it is to solve all problems ..."

So, it's not just me, not just my opinion.

Don't go to HR over stuff like this unless you have told the other person to please stop.
  #234  
Old 05-05-2019, 10:05 PM
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As others have said, slight non-sexual touching has been a mainstay of human experience for thousands of years across almost all cultures. A pat on the back, a fist bump, a handshake, a tap on the shoulder, an "atta boy" tap on the thigh, etc. have all been considered normal types of human interactions.
Just retrieving this grossly oversimplified assertion from a few pages earlier in the thread to correct some of its misleading implications. It most certainly has not been accepted, much less a "mainstay of human experience", in "almost all cultures" for "thousands of years" that "slight non-sexual touching" was always appropriate.

On the contrary, for example, many cultures for thousands of years have had stringent rules against unrelated men and women engaging in any kind of touching across gender boundaries at all. Although back pats and handshakes, etc., have all "been considered normal types of human interactions" under certain circumstances, they have also been considered absolutely taboo under certain other circumstances.

Minor physical touching between adults has always been quite strictly regulated by cultural mores, sometimes in apparently very arbitrary and inconsistent ways, and has often been the cause of heated and sometimes deadly conflicts. You don't get to brush off other people's objections to casual workplace touching by falsely pretending that "slight non-sexual touching" was always a non-issue in cultural interactions up until today's so-called "hypersensitive" types started objecting to it.
  #235  
Old 05-05-2019, 11:05 PM
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Moderating


The discussion about the virtues of HR at a given company seems relevant, but it's not. Discussion about whether something should be raised to that level is fair game, but extolling the merits or demerits of HR itself is not. Please drop this hijack.

[/moderating]

Last edited by Bone; 05-05-2019 at 11:05 PM.
  #236  
Old 05-06-2019, 01:35 AM
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In another thread, someone posted that they had an incident at work where a woman was talking at the end of a meeting, and a man put his hand on her wrist and said essentially 'we're out of time, let's table this discussion until later'. The woman was bothered by the touching and complained to HR, who sent the guy to counseling. The person posting about the incident felt that this was overblown, that the woman should have handled it herself and that HR definitely shouldn't have done anything about the guy touching unwilling co-workers. I disagreed with that idea, hence the post.

I don't really think that it's asking for too much to expect employees to abide by elementary-school level conduct rules. "Billy, don't touch Sally" "But it was just her wrist, why is she such a big baby" is just not a reasonable exchange in a professional environment, and I don't think Sally has any obligation to take on the task of re-teaching grade school manners to Billy if he hasn't learned them yet. Also, I think it's pretty clear that people engaging in such touching understand perfectly well that it is often unwanted and inappropriate - I doubt you'd see that guy touching the CEO's arm while asking him to cut a meeting short, or patting the wrist of one of the burly guys on the factory floor when talking to him.

So, what do people think?
I think I agree with you. Especially on the power tripping thing.
  #237  
Old 05-06-2019, 01:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Kimstu View Post
On the contrary, for example, many cultures for thousands of years have had stringent rules against unrelated men and women engaging in any kind of touching across gender boundaries at all. .
I find myself wondering how feasible it might be to embrace the idea of our minds not only thoroughly finding all the weak points in this equation, but also taking it one step further and addressing all of them instead of picking the probably arbitrarily determined worst one and focusing all efforts on that while letting the others escape further notice.

If we are talking convention, whether historical or geographical, let's be mindful of the difference between those related to gender, which have all sorts of extra baggage related to sex and procreation, and those which remain regardless or within a single gender, which are more relevant to autonomy.

I guess we have as an initial nomination, three options, which could also be seen as two polar extremes and the gradients implied and included between:

1) Ignore gender entirely. Conduct business between person's as though they were the same gender.

2) Consider genders as oppositional, adversarial, mutually reactive, or if we must frame it positively, as two sacred but still too powerful to allow contact between elements. In which case, they must be kept separate except for at the moment of conception.

3) Some combination or set of combinations of 1 and 2.

Now, also factor in the metastate of various number 3 proposals interacting or competing with each other. And I think we have a loose description of the state of things. At which point in that system would you like to tweak things?

And that's just the gendered part.

Strictly talking about autonomy, you are going to get stuck in some serious long term quagmire relayed to philosophy regarding definitions of the self, which are a much bigger rabbit hole than most people tend to realize.

These are important questions, but they aren't easy, simple, or obvious.
  #238  
Old 05-06-2019, 02:15 AM
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In another thread, someone posted that they had an incident at work where a woman was talking at the end of a meeting, and a man put his hand on her wrist and said essentially 'we're out of time, let's table this discussion until later'. The woman was bothered by the touching and complained to HR, who sent the guy to counseling. The person posting about the incident felt that this was overblown, that the woman should have handled it herself and that HR definitely shouldn't have done anything about the guy touching unwilling co-workers. I disagreed with that idea, hence the post.

I don't really think that it's asking for too much to expect employees to abide by elementary-school level conduct rules. "Billy, don't touch Sally" "But it was just her wrist, why is she such a big baby" is just not a reasonable exchange in a professional environment, and I don't think Sally has any obligation to take on the task of re-teaching grade school manners to Billy if he hasn't learned them yet. Also, I think it's pretty clear that people engaging in such touching understand perfectly well that it is often unwanted and inappropriate - I doubt you'd see that guy touching the CEO's arm while asking him to cut a meeting short, or patting the wrist of one of the burly guys on the factory floor when talking to him.

So, what do people think?
What's your preferred method for being interrupted? A firm voice cutting you off? Three knocks on the table? The interrupter standing up? I'd prefer a tap on the arm to a tap on the wrist, but if I was dragging on in a meeting and needed to be shut down, I'd prefer a light touch and a comment to continue the point after the meeting than an action that would garner more attention.
  #239  
Old 05-06-2019, 03:51 AM
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Just retrieving this grossly oversimplified assertion from a few pages earlier in the thread to correct some of its misleading implications. It most certainly has not been accepted, much less a "mainstay of human experience", in "almost all cultures" for "thousands of years" that "slight non-sexual touching" was always appropriate.

On the contrary, for example, many cultures for thousands of years have had stringent rules against unrelated men and women engaging in any kind of touching across gender boundaries at all. Although back pats and handshakes, etc., have all "been considered normal types of human interactions" under certain circumstances, they have also been considered absolutely taboo under certain other circumstances.

Minor physical touching between adults has always been quite strictly regulated by cultural mores, sometimes in apparently very arbitrary and inconsistent ways, and has often been the cause of heated and sometimes deadly conflicts. You don't get to brush off other people's objections to casual workplace touching by falsely pretending that "slight non-sexual touching" was always a non-issue in cultural interactions up until today's so-called "hypersensitive" types started objecting to it.
I don't disagree with much of what you said, but I would point out that I never said that touching was ALWAYS appropriate. Yes, some religions have strict cross-gender, no touching rules, but I was under the assumption that we were not dealing with that here, or at least the man in this example was not aware of Sally's strict religious beliefs.

But the gist of what I said is absolutely true. Light non-sexual touching is a mainstay of human experience. If you are hypersensitive to that, then there is nothing wrong with telling another person you don't like it, but it is not a matter to report to higher authorities.

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Originally Posted by Wrenching Spanners View Post
What's your preferred method for being interrupted? A firm voice cutting you off? Three knocks on the table? The interrupter standing up? I'd prefer a tap on the arm to a tap on the wrist, but if I was dragging on in a meeting and needed to be shut down, I'd prefer a light touch and a comment to continue the point after the meeting than an action that would garner more attention.
I agree. An under the table tap on the arm or wrist communicates the message that she is yammering on too long, but saves her the embarrassment of having others in the room see it. She can take the non-verbal cue, wrap up her remarks, and make it look like she did her presentation correctly. It happens all of the time and is very normal.

If you stand up and/or verbally interrupt her, it makes her look as if she was unprepared or otherwise did something wrong.

When I have a client that is getting a little too lippy with the judge, I'll tap them on the leg under counsel table with the back of my hand. So far, none of them has reported me to the State Bar or the police for unwanted touching. What is the alternative? Interrupt him so that the judge knows the only reason he shut up is because I told him to?
  #240  
Old 05-06-2019, 07:11 AM
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I agree. An under the table tap on the arm or wrist ...
Yeah - how about the time honored under the table kick to the shins?!
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  #241  
Old 05-06-2019, 08:33 AM
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I don't disagree with much of what you said, but I would point out that I never said that touching was ALWAYS appropriate.
I never said you did. But when you respond to specific objections to certain kinds of touching in certain situations with such a simplistic and vague generalization about "human experience" as a whole, then it needs to be pointed out that all cultures have always had quite complex rules about touching.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UltraVires
But the gist of what I said is absolutely true. Light non-sexual touching is a mainstay of human experience. If you are hypersensitive to that
The dishonesty of this framing is in its implication that anybody who objects to "light non-sexual touching" in any context is somehow being "hypersensitive", because such touching is a "mainstay of human experience".

You are deliberately glossing over all the complex ways that such touching has been culturally limited and regulated throughout human experience, in order to portray people who object to a particular form of it as being "hypersensitive".

No, it is not necessarily "hypersensitive" to consider a particular form of "light non-sexual touching" unnecessary or inappropriate in certain circumstances. And your vague handwaving about how human beings have always accepted some forms of such touching under some circumstances doesn't really support your assertion that it is.

Last edited by Kimstu; 05-06-2019 at 08:34 AM.
  #242  
Old 05-06-2019, 09:05 AM
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I see no reason that a fleeting, non-sexual contact like a touch on the wrist to get someone to recognize that the meeting is over, would be inappropriate to apply to a man. Therefore, I see no reason why it wouldn't be appropriate to apply to a woman either. Gender dynamics don't enter into it.

It's normal behavior. Normal behavior is normal. Running to HR and getting them (for instance) to issue a directive saying "employees should not act normal in this way if there is a woman in the room" is not the way to encourage equality in the workplace.

Person A: "I don't like being touched."

Person B: "OK, sorry. You didn't seem to notice when the person running the meeting said we were done. What would be the best way to get your attention next time?"

What's the difference if A is a woman, B is a man, or vice versa?

Regards,
Shodan
  #243  
Old 05-06-2019, 09:37 AM
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It's normal behavior. Normal behavior is normal. Running to HR and getting them (for instance) to issue a directive saying "employees should not act normal in this way if there is a woman in the room" is not the way to encourage equality in the workplace.
Your "for instance" is nothing more than a ridiculous exaggeration of the situation in the OP. Who is "running" to HR and forcing them to make directives? Is there some reason you don't want HR to keep a record of incidents to see if a pattern emerges?
  #244  
Old 05-06-2019, 09:46 AM
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Shodan's question raises an interesting legal tangent. Could a company/HR be accused of gender discrimination if their policies crack down on male coworkers who tap female coworkers on the wrist or shoulder to get attention ("hey we are running over time on this meeting") but do not crack down on women who do the same to men, or women to women, or men to men?
  #245  
Old 05-06-2019, 09:52 AM
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Shodan's question raises an interesting legal tangent. Could a company/HR be accused of gender discrimination if their policies crack down on male coworkers who tap female coworkers on the wrist or shoulder to get attention ("hey we are running over time on this meeting") but do not crack down on women who do the same to men, or women to women, or men to men?
Maybe...if the other instances weren't for the most part hypotheticals used to obscure the issue.

Last edited by Czarcasm; 05-06-2019 at 09:56 AM.
  #246  
Old 05-06-2019, 10:00 AM
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The solution was arrived at long ago. It should be obvious.

Thunderdome!

I'm a tiny bit serious though. There are often situations where there is just a natural apparent conflict that comes from competing values or goals, and the proper response is to recognize that and work around or above that, to understand it for what it is, a creative challenge. If instead the parties attempt to turn it adversarial and drag every one else into their conflict, well then it would seem they both need some remedial education on basic adult conflict resolution.

This particular example has some other potential issues mucking up the works too though. The above mentioned personal preference issue by itself should be left to grown ass adults to mediate between themselves without Odin getting involved. But it gets a little tricky when you insert power differentials. Let's explore those.

1) Gender differences. I think it is better for both genders if these are ignored. You just can't simultaneously aim to create an equal society and also claim that men are inherently more powerful and dangerous. There are plenty of badass women and weakass men. If you are afraid of a man it has nothing to do with his gender. How would two men handle the same situation? To the extent that there remains a cultural imbalance, there are obvious ways to encourage more balance like boxing for women and family leave for men.

2) Position. Even in a single gender workplace, one may feel that one must cow before ones superior, and therefore normal conflict remediation is impossible. This comes down to corporate culture. If you have a military style hierarchy and chain of command, every interaction between levels is just inherently going to have some uncomfortable subtext. There's no sense in blaming that on individual parties. Change the system. There's plenty of new more cooperative holarchy style formats to experiment with. The medium is the message. Touch in this context is just a cipher. Every element of interaction could be seen within the lens of control. There's no reason to single out physical contact as the essential conflict here.

3) General integrity. Some people just have more internal resources. The solution here is not to villfy them, but to strengthen the weaker party. Life has dealt a lot of people some damage, true. But it doesn't help anyone to encourage learned helplessness, and stick them in a box labeled "damaged goods, too fragile to deal with". Rather to the extent that there is damage, there should be equal focus and effort on healing and strengthening.
QFT. This is the best assessment so far in the thread.

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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Christ almighty.

Folks, a single person can suck all the oxygen out of a thread by posting dozens of times in it, especially if they say outrageous things. May I suggest that everyone, before posting, ask themselves whether they're engaging in a productive conversation?

I think that's about all I can say here.

To me that seems to be coming at it from the wrong direction. Touch, when appropriate, isn't a last resort or a bad thing at all, any more than appropriate humor is. On the contrary, it can be a humanizing moment that makes the day a little better. When a coworker taps me on the arm with her fist while laughing at a story about the day, or rests his hand on my shoulder to get my attention, it's not that I'm cringing and thinking, "Why didn't he/she use her words instead?" I appreciate the touch in much the same way I appreciate a smile, or a compliment, or a joke. It's a positive social interaction that, in a very very small way, improves my day.

Instead, going to HR should be seen as a no-harm, no-foul approach. As I said before, I'm reasonably confident that my touching of co-workers isn't skeeving anyone out (and in case it seems otherwise, I'm hardly Bidening up the place; I might touch a co-worker twice a week if that, and then it's usually a tap on the shoulder). But if my principal called me in and told me someone wanted me to stop touching them, I'd be mortified, and I'd change my behavior, and of course I wouldn't get pissy and petulant about it.

Folks with different backgrounds and experiences and preferences are doing their best to be around one another and be decent and pleasant to be around. If someone makes an honest, minor mistake, they need to fix it, and the person they made a mistake to needs to forgive. HR should be able to help with that process.

And honestly I think like 99% of humans are down with that already.
LHoD, I’m with you this except for one thing. Which you’ve said before. I don’t really understand why you would be “mortified” in the above situation, especially since you’ve made it clear that you don’t consider the casual touching to be inappropriate.

I was in a similar situation recently. It didn’t involve touching but it was still very similar. I work with the installation of automation systems, and I had the habit of introducing my client to my technician working in the field and stressing his importance to my business. “Mr. Client, this is Bill. He’s the guy that knows how to make this actually work”.
Now I don’t think I was wrong in doing this. When I was working as a technician I liked this. But Bill was kind of shy and he didn’t like it at all. And I failed to pick up on that. So Bill asked me not to do it anymore. So I stopped.

But I wasn’t mortified. I wasn’t even slightly embarrassed. And if he had gone to a third party to make this request I don’t think I would’ve been mortified. I mostly would have been disturbed that he didn’t feel he could go to me directly and I would examine my behavior to try to make myself more accessible.

Anyway, to reiterate— I think you need to operate under the assumption that both parties in a conflict are good people with good intentions and there isn’t necessarily a bad guy and a good guy. I’m disturbed by the posts that refer to the two parties as Susan and Mr. McFeely, although the issue was a touch on the wrist from someone that has not exhibited a pattern of bad behavior. That’s making a judgment just as much as I would be making a judgement if I referred to the two parties as Bob and Ms. Overly Sensitive Tattletale.
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Old 05-06-2019, 10:06 AM
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Shodan's question raises an interesting legal tangent. Could a company/HR be accused of gender discrimination if their policies crack down on male coworkers who tap female coworkers on the wrist or shoulder to get attention ("hey we are running over time on this meeting") but do not crack down on women who do the same to men, or women to women, or men to men?
They aren't "cracking down" on anything. They are responding to a complaint. If a male went to HR with the same complaint about a woman touching him, I would expect them to follow up on it.
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Old 05-06-2019, 10:42 AM
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I wonder how often HR tells a complaining employee, "I understand what you are saying, but what you describe is acceptable human behavior." Or tell the "complained of" employee, "Your colleague complained of x-behavior. We don't think you did anything wrong, but do us all a favor and see if you can steer clear of that employee because they seem to misinterpret normal employee interaction."
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  #249  
Old 05-06-2019, 11:13 AM
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It is not relevant to this thread where we are talking about light, casual, non-sexual touching among people who know each other well. That is what this discussion is about.
I just can't let this pass; especially with the italics in the original post including the phrase "people who know each other well."

No, this discussion is not about such touching among people who know each other well.

What set all of this going was a case in which one person complained about another touching her during a business meeting. We haven't been told whether this was the first time they met, or the fifth, or whether they've worked together twenty years, or whether they're first cousins who grew up in the same household. But the fact that two people are at the same business meeting does not automatically mean that they "know each other well."

That was followed by an example (post #34) in which one person defended tapping another to get them to move away from a piece of equipment at a meeting. Again, there's no indication whether they'd ever met before, and the context is a business meeting.

Nearly every post in this thread has been discussing touching specifically in the workplace. I thought I remembered one in which the poster was talking about poking somebody in a movie theater, but I think I'm remembering post #90, which on re-reading is probably discussing a movie being shown in a business context.

I don't think anybody's been talking about whether it's OK to, say, kick your sister under the table to get her to shut up about politics. (Depends on the sister, and yes, you ought to know your sister well enough to tell, and yes, some sisters would appreciate it; though it's possible you've been poking her under the table since you were three, and just don't realize that's part of the reason you now only see her once a year and she always sits at the far end of the table when you do see her.)

So no, this thread is not solely about casual touching solely between people who know each other well. It's at least primarily about casual touching in a business situation; which is an entirely different context. Trying to use at work the same manners that are acceptable in a casual context within your particular family and/or circle of acquaintances is very likely not going to go over well. Even if it's acceptable in some workplaces, that's very certainly far from universal.

-- if somebody put their hand on me under the table at a business meeting, my immediate reaction wouldn't be 'I should stop talking now.' It would be 'why has this person got their hand on me?' And if they nudged me with their foot or leg, I'd assume that the person was stretching their legs and had done so by accident. Another advantage of using your words is that the person's more likely to actually understand you. I don't see why one would stand up to do so, unless for some reason the workplace culture is that anyone who says anything is expected to do so while standing -- in which case the running-on speaker would presumably also be standing.

Discussing with one's client before court what signal should be used to discreetly tell the client to can it if necessary strikes me as a really good idea.
  #250  
Old 05-06-2019, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Ann Hedonia View Post
LHoD, I’m with you this except for one thing. Which you’ve said before. I don’t really understand why you would be “mortified” in the above situation, especially since you’ve made it clear that you don’t consider the casual touching to be inappropriate.
I would be mortified because I would assume that they had tried to communicate it to me directly and that I had failed to understand/notice that I was making them uncomfortable. I would give THEM the benefit of the doubt, I wouldn't jump to the defensive position of "I couldn't possibly have known and they ran straight to HR without telling me".

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Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
I wonder how often HR tells a complaining employee, "I understand what you are saying, but what you describe is acceptable human behavior." Or tell the "complained of" employee, "Your colleague complained of x-behavior. We don't think you did anything wrong, but do us all a favor and see if you can steer clear of that employee because they seem to misinterpret normal employee interaction."
Is it ever acceptable behavior to touch someone that doesn't want to be touched? Real question. Because I am very down with the idea that different people have different comfort zones and that figuring those out can be messy--which is why we have to communicate.

If someone comes to HR and says 'So-and-so has a habit of touching me in innocuous ways that I still find uncomfortable--fixes my tag if it protrudes out of the back of my shirt, wants to shake hands every time we see each other, punches my shoulder with the punchline of every joke. I have tried everything short of outright rudeness to get him to stop, but he just doesn't hear it". All that is pretty normal touching, but it's the sort of thing that makes some people very uncomfortable. Do you think that in an ideal world, the toucher's preference to communicate by touch should supercede the touchee's discomfort?
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