Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

The fashion label where staff are 'forced to hug the boss'

Founder and CEO of Ted Baker Ray Kelvin doesn't like showing his face in public Founder and CEO of Ted Baker Ray Kelvin doesn't like showing his face in public
Rhonda Young | 05 December, 2018, 03:33

Launching a petition that has been signed over 200 times on the platform Organise, the Ted Baker employees allege that the company's CEO, Ray Kelvin, "tries to massage people around the office, insists on long hugs with staff members, touches them inappropriately and openly asks his staff for sex".

In addition to customers, the petition includes the signatures of several hundred former and current Ted Baker employees, according to British media reports.

Kelvin, 62, developed the Ted Baker brand and has been chief executive since the launch of the company in 1988.

"It is part of a culture that leaves harassment unchallenged", they claim.

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Kelvin, who keeps a low profile and refuses to have his face photographed, is ranked at number 244 on the 2018 Sunday Times Rich List.

"He once came and started massaging my shoulders and kissed me on the neck".

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.

"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 is critically important to us that every member of our staff feels valued and respected at work", the company statement said.

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Staff at the fashion chain Ted Baker have hit out at their boss, claiming there is a culture of "forced hugging". Pursuing the issue through HR had been "hopelessly. It's the biggest group of reports at one employer we've ever seen on Organise".

Although complaints have been brushed off in the past, the brand promises "a thorough independent investigation is carried out".

The petitioners are demanding their claims be vetted by an "independent, external body".

In a statement over the weekend, the firm said it has "very clear and robust HR policies in place".

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