After CA Senator banned from hugging at work, we talk hugging etiquette at the office

Mar 12, 2018

Storm Water Taxes

State Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, hugs Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego, after his storm water bill was approved by the Assembly, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in Sacramento.; Credit: Rich Pedroncelli/AP


Last week, an investigation into the behavior of California state Senator Bob Hertzberg, nicknamed “Huggy Bear,” found that though his hugs weren’t sexually motivated, they made people uncomfortable.

He was told to stop hugging people at work.

Hertzberg is one of a string of California lawmakers, including former Sen. Tony Mendoza and former Assemblymen Raul Bocanegra and Matt Dababneh, who have resigned due to sexual harassment findings, spurred by the larger conversation around #MeToo. Others, such as Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, are currently under investigation.

Is Sen. Hertzberg being treated differently from other lawmakers, and if he is, is the difference legitimate? We get the latest on Hertzberg and sexual harassment investigations in the capitol.

Plus, Sen. Hertzberg has a long reputation of hugging at work. In a letter that he sent around last week, he wrote, “all my life, a hug has been a way of greeting friends and colleagues – a gesture of warmth and kindness and a reflection of my exuberance.”

So when is hugging appropriate in the workplace, if ever? Are you a non-hugger in a touchy feely workplace and how do you navigate unwanted physical affection? And if you’re a hugger, is the current conversation surrounding Hertzberg changing your behavior?

With guest host Libby Denkmann.


Melanie Mason, reporter for the Los Angeles Times covering state government and politics in Sacramento; she tweets @melmason

Alison Green, work advice columnist whose website is Ask a; her forthcoming book is “Ask a Manager: How to Navigate Clueless Colleagues, Lunch-Stealing Bosses, and the Rest of Your Life at Work” (Ballantine Books, 2018)

This content is from Southern California Public Radio. View the original story at

Read the Full Story at KPCC Blogs

Comments are closed