Answer: As a general rule, physical contact with co-workers should be avoided. Apart from potential legal issues, you never know when someone may take offense. While some people are natural huggers and patters, others really do not like being touched. When these types work together, misunderstandings can easily occur.
This hands-off principle is especially important for managers, because employees may feel compelled to tolerate unwanted advances from their boss. When your position gives you power over people, you must be careful not to violate their personal boundaries. Also, companies are legally liable for the actions of their supervisors.
On the other hand, close colleagues with longstanding relationships don’t need to feel paranoid about exchanging a friendly hug or pat on the back. Reasonable people should be able to distinguish unwelcome overtures from genuine expressions of mutual affection.
Based on the email complaints in our inbox, here are a few other behaviors to avoid at work: The Top Twelve Unprofessional Behaviors.