A Reddit user shares their story of having to fire an intern because she wouldn’t stop hugging people at the office.
The original poster (OP) explained that they manage the internship program at their job. Their job offers six and twelve-month internships.
OP noticed that one of the women in the program hugged her classmates a lot, they thought it was excessive so brought it up in a one-on-one session. The girl didn’t seem to appreciate the feedback but didn’t make any comments.
In December, she tried to hug OP at a company function. They brought it up at her review the next day and told her that she needed to keep her hands to herself because she was in a workplace and it was not a social club.
OP also reminded her that a lot of people, including themselves, didn’t like to be hugged.
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The girl argued with OP and said hugging was how she greeted people and “shared a connection” with them. OP put their foot down and said she needed to find a different way of doing so.
OP said she became “sulky” and they don’t feel like they came to an understanding. OP told her that was the last time they would be willing to have that conversation with her.
A new intern joined the team a couple of weeks ago. On Monday, two of them came into OP’s office to complain that the girl had been hugging them constantly despite them asking her to stop. OP apologized and had other conversations with the teams and discovered that this had become an ongoing issue.
On Wednesday, OP called the girl into their office and told her that she could no longer be in the program. OP explained that they had already talked to her about this twice, and that she was making people uncomfortable.
She didn’t take the news well and had to be escorted out. Yesterday and today, OP said they got calls from her parents and her professor, saying that she needs this internship and that they don’t think what she did was a big deal, and that OP shouldn’t have fired her.
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The Masses Weigh In
The Reddit community was quick to back OP on this one.
One user said, “NTA. She was crossing boundaries and did not care. More than that, she did not care that she was invading other people’s space and making them uncomfortable. Her desire to hug people DOES NOT trump other people’s desire not to be touched. Her behavior was unprofessional and should not be tolerated. You were right to fire her. Her parents and professor need to get a grip. If Hester were a man, I am sure they would get it.”
Another user chimed in, “The whole purpose of an internship is for students to learn how having a job works. As I see it, OP taught Hester two very important things about how to have a job. 1: Don’t touch your coworkers without their consent and 2: If your boss tells you to stop doing something and you keep doing it, you will lose that job. Good job with the teaching, OP. NTA.”
Was OP right to scold the girl for her behavior? Was the girl out of line? How would you have reacted in this situation?
This article was produced and syndicated by Career Step Up.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Mix and Match Studio. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.