Should I tell the director of a lab in a business school how I was personally affected about their actions while participating in a study? I am a student and I met them in a professional setting as a paid participant of a research study and we are in different faculties.

The action was that they declined to shake my hand for religious reasons (we are the opposite sex). This is not about wanting to shake someones hand, I do not want to contact anyone who doesn't want to for any reason. The way I was personally affected by their actions was that I was really emotionally and personally distracted after the incident and they might want to know about the experience someone had in their lab.

I value that they have religious rights, and want to respect those as much as possible. On the other hand, I do happen to value open communication on a personal level as being more socially active than being silent. I just want to tell them that it made me feel like: "You can't use the information from my research session because if you can't see me for more than a body, then that's equivalent of not seeing me as a human subject in your research trial". That's being petty though, I want to engage in active listening as much as expressing myself, and would never actually withhold my information from the study.

It has also been recommended to me that I offer alternatives such as offering a wave instead of a handshake, or just not disclosing the reason for the declined contact if it is discriminatory.

In case I did decide to contact the individual, I contacted my student union's ombudsman asking for what services I might have available in terms of peer support. I don't know what this support would look like maybe editing a draft letter or having mental health back-up. I got an automated response that they are out of office until after the semester is over.

Is it normal in a professional environment to inform a director of emotional discomfort experienced on their site?

EDIT: Since asking this question I have built up some context on what those religious reasons might be, and have learned to not take it personal. I will NOT be contacting the individual, any qualm I have with a religious policy has nothing to do with that person.

closed as primarily opinion-based by sphennings, Rob, Ælis, Alina Cretu, Cashbee Nov 22 '18 at 8:23

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Welcome to IPS! Unfortunately, your question seems to be primarily opinion-based which isn't a good fit for this site. However, you could edit your question to ask about communication. For example: "How can I communicate to X that I was really uncomfortable with the fact that they did Y?" – Ælis Nov 22 '18 at 6:25

There is no problem discussing what happened to you from the director however first I would try to understand their side as there won't be much benefit if you are just going in there with your side of things.

I can help you to understand it as I have done the same thing a few times. The reasoning behind it is not regarding women as "just a body" as some might think, actually it's the opposite. It is respecting the woman and treating her with all possible respect and this includes not looking at her body (i.e. perv-ing) and not making physical contact, as both are regarded disrespectful.

Remember you can disagree here, but I'm just showing you the other side so you can keep it in mind during the discussion and not regard their intentions as malicious. If you completely disagree then you can use this information to conclude that they are misguided but have good intentions and meant no harm. This is an important point because then there won't be a reason to believe it's malicious and take it personally.

As they are likely to be in a culture where handshaking is normal, tact is important here. Were they tactful? If not, that can be the main focus of the discussion.

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