Ted Baker shares sink after staff petition against 'forced hugs' culture

  • Ted Baker shares sink after staff petition against 'forced hugs' culture

Ted Baker shares sink after staff petition against 'forced hugs' culture

Ted Baker has launched an internal investigation into claims its chief executive and founder harassed female staff members.

"Ray greets many people he meets with a hug - be it a shareholder, investor, supplier, partner, customer or colleague", the company added. "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".

Using the employee campaign platform Organize, over 200 Ted Baker employees launched the petition and calling for others who experienced harassment at Ted Baker to share their experience.

Ted Baker is expected to post disappointing sales this week as it gears up for the critical festive period.

It described hugs as "part of Ted Baker's culture", but said that they are "absolutely not insisted upon".

In an interview with Retail Week, Kelvin explained that he hugs people because his psoriatic arthritis makes it painful to shake hands, and took offence when it was suggested that people would be uncomfortable doing so.

The petition also claims that Ted Baker's human resources department has willfully ignored staff's complaints against the CEO in the past by saying "that's just what he's like". We will then carefully consider the content and recommendations of that report.

"There are a lot of really positive things about working at Ted Baker but they're often overshadowed by the "hugging" and inappropriate touching and comments".

It comes after an online petition demanded the company should set up a way of reporting allegations of harassment to an independent body.

However, the company said "clear and robust" HR policies in dealing with the issues were already in place.

The first Ted Baker shop opened in Glasgow in 1988.

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.