Published: Tue, December 04, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Thousands Sign Petition to End ‘Forced Hugging’ at Fashion Chain Ted Baker

Thousands Sign Petition to End ‘Forced Hugging’ at Fashion Chain Ted Baker

Staff at United Kingdom luxury fashion brand Ted Baker have started a petition calling for an end to an alleged culture of "forced hugging" and other inappropriate behaviour.

The claims first emerged in an online petition, which said Mr Kelvin instigated a "forced hugging" policy that is part of a culture that "leaves harassment unchallenged".

The petition also says complaints to Ted Baker's HR department have been ignored.

But the company hit back by saying hugs are "part of Ted Baker's culture although absolutely not insisted upon".

"The CEO always wants a hug from every member of the staff", said one.

According to the petition, launched by a Ted Baker employee, Kelvin also allegedly asked staff to sit on his knee and "massaged their ears". "It's very uncomfortable and unnecessary, a simple handshake can be okay".


Having very recently been made aware of the Petition, we are now in dialogue with Organise to understand the details and nature of the claims. Pursuing the issue through HR had been "hopelessly".

In a statement Monday, the company announced that "an independent committee of the Non-Executive Directors has been appointed to ensure that the views and concerns are recognized and carefully considered and that appropriate responses are taken forward".

The firm says a "thorough independent investigation" will be conducted into the allegations, which it disputes.

Ted Baker CEO Ray Kelvin, who famously never shows his face in photos, has been accused of inappropriate behavior by employees.

Staff have started a petition for the behavior to stop, the paper said, and have called for the formation of an external body to hear their complaints. It assured employees that there were a "wide range of reporting options for any issues that they might encounter, including a completely confidential and anonymous, 24/7 helpline".

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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