- Huw Hughes |
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. The petition, launched by the UK brand’s employees, accuses the 62-year-old of making staff feel “uncomfortable” through his “forced hugs and kisses”.
Kelvin was also accused in the Organise petition of asking female staff to sit on his knee and of regularly using sexual innuendos. The unnamed uploader of the petition said on the Organise website: “The general feeling inside Ted Baker is that there's no official way to address the issue of harassment. That's why we're running this campaign.
“There are a lot of really positive things about working at Ted Baker but they’re often overshadowed by this underlying awkwardness about the ‘hugging’ and inappropriate comments.
Ted Baker staff launch petition against inappropriate behaviour by founder
“So many people have left the business due to harassment, whether that be verbal, physical or sexual. Pursuing the issue through the 'proper' channels i.e. Human Resources, is hopelessly ineffective. It's time to break the silence.”
Responding to the claims in a statement, the brand said: “Ted Baker PLC (the "Group") notes the recent media reports and petition in respect of the business and its founder and CEO, Ray Kelvin.
“Ray, and the Company's leadership, have always prided themselves on Ted Baker being a great employer and business to work with. Accordingly, they and the Board take these concerns very seriously and the Board has directed a thorough and urgent independent external investigation is carried out into these matters.
“An independent committee of the Non-Executive Directors has been appointed to ensure that the views and concerns are recognised and carefully considered and that appropriate responses are taken forward."
The news comes just days before Ted Baker is set to release its third quarter figures on Thursday 6 December.
The petition on Organise currently has 2,459 as of Monday morning.
Photo credit: Ted Baker, Facebook