Ted Baker launches investigation after staff hugging and harassment claims
06 December, 2018, 13:00 | Author: Eric Barnett
United Kingdom fashion designer and retailer Ted Baker on Monday said it would investigate worker complaints of "forced hugging" by founder and CEO Ray Kelvin.
Organise published a petition, signed by more than 1,000 people, calling for an end to forced hugging, saying: "It is part of a culture that leaves harassment unchallenged".
In addition to customers, the petition includes the signatures of several hundred former and current Ted Baker employees, according to British media reports.
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Ray Kelvin obscures his face with a mini-sized Statue of Liberty at the Ted Baker Wooster VIP Event on September 22, 2016 in New York City.
However Ted Baker told the Sunday Times that the allegations were at "odds with the values of the business and CEO". "It's very uncomfortable and unnecessary, a simple handshake can be okay", another says.
Kelvin allegedly "tries to massage people around the office, insists on long hugs with staff members, touches them inappropriately and openly asks his staff for sex", according to the petition.
The petition also says complaints to Ted Baker's HR department have been ignored.
In a statement released on Monday, the company confirmed that an external investigation is to take place at the request of the board. "It is critically important to us that every member of our staff feels valued and respected at work", the company statement said.
The firm said it is in dialogue with Organise to "understand the details and nature of the claims" after being made aware of the petition.
An independent committee of non-executive directors had also been appointed "to ensure that the views and concerns are recognised and carefully considered and that appropriate responses are taken forward".
Ted Baker, named after a fictitious alter ego of Mr Kelvin, opened its first store in Glasgow in 1988 and now has 544 outlets worldwide selling fashion and accessories.
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