Ted Baker staff speak out against culture of 'forced hugging'

Ted Baker staff speak out against culture of 'forced hugging'

Ted Baker staff speak out against culture of 'forced hugging'

Ted Baker's founder Ray Kelvin has found himself under fire after staff launched an online petition to stop a culture of "forced hugging" at the company.

Shares in Ted Baker fell 15 per cent yesterday on the news that Mr Kelvin, 62, had been accused in the petition of "forced hugging", making "sexual innuendos" and "stroking people's necks".

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"Plenty of people might have sat on Ted Baker's knee".

The company initially gave a statement to the BBC that Kelvin often greets people, "with a hug, be it a shareholder, investor, supplier, partner, customer or colleague".

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The ex-worker also describes an incident in which the CEO rubbed their shoulders in front of a group of visitors to Ted Baker's head office.

"It's very uncomfortable and unnecessary, a simple handshake can be okay".

The petition goes on to demand that the company put an end to the "awkward hugging policy" whereby the "CEO always wants a hug from every member of staff".

"The general feeling inside Ted Baker is that there's no official way to address the issue of harassment", the petition says.

The petition read: "Please set up a way of reporting harassment to an independent, external body - HR has done nothing with the reports of harassment to date".

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Ted Baker management told the Press Association that the firm is in talks with Organise to "understand the details and nature of the claims".

The company said the claims are being taken "very seriously" and a "thorough independent investigation" will be carried out.

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". "They don't act on the reports".

It has 544 stores, concessions and outlets worldwide and offers merchandise ranging from men's and women's wear to accessories, children's wear and items for the home.

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