Economy

United Kingdom retailer Ted Baker to investigate company culture of hugging

United Kingdom retailer Ted Baker to investigate company culture of hugging

United Kingdom fashion designer and retailer Ted Baker on Monday said it would investigate worker complaints of "forced hugging" by founder and CEO Ray Kelvin.

However Ted Baker told the Sunday Times that the allegations were at "odds with the values of the business and CEO".

It comes ahead of a trading update by the company due on Thursday.

Ted Baker is expected to post disappointing sales this week as it gears up for the critical festive period. Thank goodness for the people who came forward and hopefully justice is served for all of them.

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".

Shares in British high street retailer Ted Baker closed down 15.1 percent to 15.50 pounds on the London Stock Exchange Monday, following a media report over the weekend that female employees want founder Ray Kelvin to keep his hands off them.

DEVELOPING: US-China trade uncertainty fuels market plunge
FILE - Mike Starkey offloads soybeans from his combine as he harvests his crops in Brownsburg, Indiana, Sept. 21, 2018. China is supposed to start buying Agricultural product and more immediately.

The petition also claims that the company's "hopelessly ineffective" HR department has ignored reports and it hopes to "break the silence" by going public.

The petition website purported to quote several unnamed current and former employees detailing their experiences. It is critically important to us that every member of our staff feels valued and respected at work. "It's very uncomfortable and unnecessary, a simple handshake can be okay", another says.

Other behaviors listed in the petition include touching people's necks, asking employees to make pornography with him, kissing people's ears, making sexual innuendos, taking off his shirt, and talking about his sex life.

One petitioner described an afternoon at the office in which Kelvin "singled out employees and [made] them slow dance with him", adding that workers "escaped the humiliation by hiding in the bathrooms/kitchens which were much safer places than our own desks".

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


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