UK: Ted Baker employees accuse CEO of sexual harassment & says company has ignored complaints
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Author: Prachi Singh, Fashion United
Ted Baker CEO takes leave of absence during probe into 'forced hugging', 10 December, 2018
Following accusations of “forced hugging” and harassment against its founder and CEO Ray Kelvin, Ted Baker, on December 3, 2018 announced the appointment of an independent committee of non-executive directors, which subsequently appointed Herbert Smith Freehills LLP to conduct an independent external investigation into the reports received. Now the company has announced that Kelvin has taken a voluntary leave of absence, while the allegations against him are investigated.
The company said in a statement: “the committee and the board have now been made aware of further serious allegations about the conduct of founder and Chief Executive Officer Ray Kelvin, which it will also be investigating. Ray Kelvin has agreed, for the benefit of the business and the people who work in it, that he will take a voluntary leave of absence from his role.”
"As previously stated, the board has moved quickly to appoint Herbert Smith Freehills LLP to conduct a thorough and independent external investigation into recent reports regarding the company and its CEO," added David Bernstein, the company’s Non-Executive Chairman to the statement.
Author: Sarah Butler and Jasper Jolly, The Guardian
Ted Baker staff complain of ‘forced hugs’ by company founder, 2 December 2018
Ray Kelvin [is] subject of petition signed by more than 1,000 people complaining about workplace culture at fashion retailer.
Ray Kelvin, the founder of the fashion chain Ted Baker, has been criticised by a group of former and current staff for a regime of “forced hugs” and alleged harassment at the retailer’s head office.
More than 60 current or former staff are understood to have come forward to the employee campaigning platform Organise with complaints about Kelvin’s alleged behaviour
...Organise published a petition, signed by more than 1,000 people, calling for an end to forced hugging, saying: “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”.
...The petition also says complaints to Ted Baker’s HR department have been ignored. It says: “Harassment at Ted Baker is well documented but wilfully ignored by those in charge.”
...Ted Baker said it would ensure an independent investigation was carried out and “carefully consider” its findings. “While the claims made are entirely at odds with the values of our business and those of our CEO, we take them very seriously,” the company said.
It added: “Ray greets many people he meets with a hug – be it a shareholder, investor, supplier, partner, customer or colleague. Hugs have become part of Ted Baker’s culture, but are absolutely not insisted upon.”
The company said that it was currently “in dialogue” with Organise in order to “understand the details and nature of the claims”.