Ted Baker shares hit three-year low amid staff complaints over founder

Mae Love
December 5, 2018

"There are a lot of really positive things about working at Ted Baker but they're often overshadowed by this underlying awkwardness about the "hugging" and inappropriate comments".

Ted Baker employees also allege the brand's founder regularly uses sexual innuendo and asked young female members of staff to sit on his knee and cuddle him, according to United Kingdom press reports.

In a new statement, it said there would be "a thorough and urgent independent external investigation" done by an independent committee, as the petition requested.

One former member of staff, who said she had not been hugged herself, said: "He would give long hugs: [the office] was a big open space where we all could see. Hugs have become part of Ted Baker's culture, but are absolutely not insisted upon".

It alleges that Kelvin regularly makes sexual innuendos, and has asked young female staff members to sit on his knee or let him massage their ears. Following reports, Ted Baker shares plunged to 13%.

Staff at the fashion chain Ted Baker have hit out at their boss, claiming there is a culture of "forced hugging".

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The company said that it was now "in dialogue" with Organise in order to "understand the details and nature of the claims".

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.

It comes after an online petition demanded the company should set up a way of reporting allegations of harassment to an independent body.

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

Several of the 64 respondents to a survey said they had reported the behaviour to HR but had been told "that's just what Ray's like".

Ted Baker is also having to cope with the fallout of the collapse of House of Fraser, where it has a string of concessions. It has since grown to boast 544 outlets selling clothing and accessories worldwide.

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