Ted Baker Employees Accuse Founder of ‘Forced Hugs’, Harassment
The employees accused the founder, Ray Kelvin, of ‘forced hugs’ & alleged harassment at the company’s head office.
A group of current and former staff of fashion brand, Ted Baker, has accused its founder, Ray Kelvin, of running a regime of “forced hugs” and alleged harassment at the company’s head office.
The group of complainants, which include at least 60 of the company’s current and former staff, approached the employee campaigning platform ‘Organise’, to complain about how Kelvin would indulge in inappropriate behaviour such as kissing ears and giving unwanted hugs and shoulder massages, The Guardian reported.
Following the complaints, ‘Organise’ published a petition, which was signed by more than a thousand people, to bring an end to the culture of “forced hugging” in the company, as according to them, “it (the culture) leaves harassment unchallenged”, the report added.
Speaking to the newspaper, one female employee said:
“He would give long hugs. The office was a big open space where we all could see. He would hug several people a day and it would be very uncomfortable.”
Responding to these allegations, the company said that an independent investigation was being carried out, The Guardian reported. It also said that it was holding dialogue with ‘Organise’ in order to get to the “nature” of the claims.
“While the claims made are entirely at odds with the values of our business and those of our CEO, we take them very seriously...Ray greets many people he meets with a hug – be it a shareholder, investor, supplier, partner, customer or colleague. Hugs have become part of Ted Baker’s culture, but are absolutely not insisted upon,” the company said in a statement, the report added.
(With inputs from The Guardian)
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