Staff at Ted Baker have complained of a culture of ‘forced hugs’ encouraged by the company founder.
More than 2000 people have signed a petition, complaining of a culture of ‘forced hugging’ at Ted Baker – encouraged by the firm’s founder and boss, Ray Kelvin.
The petition claimed there had been 50 recorded incidents of alleged harassment at the company, and that the ‘hugging culture’ allowed harassment to go unchallenged. It also said the company’s HR department had ignored harassment complaints, and accuses Ray Kelvin of inappropriate comments and behaviour, including regular use of sexual innuendo.
In response to the petition, the company said that hugs are “part of Ted Baker’s culture, but are absolutely not insisted upon”.
Since the petition was publicised, shares in the company have fallen by over 8%. Ted Baker has said that it’s taking the claims seriously, and will carry out a thorough investigation.
In the backdrop of the #MeToo movement, this petition shows the that sexual harassment remains high on the agenda, highlighting the damage that allegations like this can do to a company, and many employers are unsure what to do next. A solicitor in our employment team, Alice Williams, recently provided some advice for employers to help tackle sexual harassment in the workplace #MeToo: what should employers do now?’
If you’d like to discuss how to protect your business from claims of sexual harassment, please get in touch.