EngagementCultureTed Baker employees launch a petition to ban forced hugging policy

Ted Baker employees launch a petition to ban forced hugging policy

Ted Baker's founder has recently come under scrutiny after several current and former staff have announced their frustrations with the companies culture policies.

Ray Kelvin, founder of Ted Bakers has been heavily criticised by former and current staff, for initiating a process of ‘forced hugs’ at the retailer’s head office.

Several employees have expressed concern with the ‘inapproriate touching’ in the office, as this could create a culture where sexual harassment is left overlooked and unchallenged.

One complainant wrote: “I’ve seen the CEO ask young female members of staff to sit on his knee, cuddle him, or let him massage their ears. I went to HR with a complaint and was told ‘that’s just what Ray’s like.”

Initially, it was reported that more than 60 employees came forward and launched a campaign through Organise to address Ray’s actions, with these complaints ranging from kissing ears, unwanted hugs, and shoulder massages.

An employee said to Organise: “The CEO always wants a hug from every member of the staff. It’s very uncomfortable and unnecessary, a simple handshake can be okay.”

Organise published this petition, so far 1,000 people have signed it, in an attempt to signal an end to the forced hugging policy. They say “It is part of a culture that leaves harassment unchallenged, it also calls for new procedures allowing employees to report harassment to an independent external body”

Many other staff members have been said to be affected by this policy, with one former member of staff saying ‘He would give long hugs, the office was an open space where we all could see” They then went on to say that Ray would hug several people daily, making them feel uncomfortable. It has previously been stated that Ray decided to refuse to handshake people due to his ongoing problem with arthritis.

Ted Baker’s official statement addressing this mentioned that they will take this investigation very seriously. They said, “While the claims made are entirely at odds with the values of our business and those of our CEO, we take them very seriously.”

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