I suspect it all comes down to intent.
In my last position as a supervisor, I offered a shoulder rub to a female employee, while she sat at her desk, working hard at entering information into her computer. In my mind, this was just a gesture of goodwill, to ease her stress.
I had never done this before, to anyone. But I would never do it again, ever!
Why? Because she reported me to HR.
Men and women look at the world differently. A kindness from a male supervisor is viewed with suspicion by the female employee. And that seems to be why the world is so messed up now.
I’m not saying there aren’t sexual predators out there, trying it on, all the time, to see what can happen. What I am saying is: view the situation with a balance of probabilities. Does he do this to everyone? Has he chosen you for special treatment? Has he hinted at anything more?
I wasn’t fired. But I was shaken by the accusation. It made me rethink my approach to members of the opposite sex, especially those under my supervision.
When I moved to the UK, all this ‘sensitivity’ was wasted. Everyone there knew it was a game, and they all played it to the best of their abilities. I didn’t play that game, ever. I refused supervisory jobs. I chose to be others’ equal.
Maybe that’s how it really should be…