Most people would probably agree that a hug is a nice thing, but when it takes place at work, and is forced on someone rather than accepted willingly, it can feel very intimidating and even threatening. Recent news suggests that the latter is the case with the chief executive of high-end British retailer, Ted Baker, who routinely greets young, female employees with unwanted hugs.
According to the report, employees at the above retailer have reported unwanted hugs, touching, and more to the company’s human resources company, but their reports of harassment have been ignored. That is why more than 200 of those employees have signed a petition that documents their claims, which also include accusations that the CEO openly discussed his sex life, took off his shirt, stroked people’s necks, made raunchy suggestive comments, and much more.
The company responded through a statement that claims the CEO often greets people with hugs. This does not just happen to employees, but also to suppliers, customers, colleagues, shareholders, and investors. The statement reported that hugs are part of the retailer’s culture, but are not forced. They further declared that the company has clear and robust policies in place, starting with a confidential, anonymous 24-hour helpline. They also reportedly formed an independent committee to ensure that appropriate responses are offered.
In the past, however, the retailer’s human resources department has reportedly responded to complaints against the CEO by saying that is what he is like. Because of the retailer’s weak response to accusations, several employees have left the company over the CEO’s reported verbal, physical, and sexual harassment. They have come to believe that their human resources department is ineffective.
If you have experienced inappropriate behaviors while on the job, we can help. Please contact the Philadelphia sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. We can guide you toward making the best decisions and protect your workplace rights. Call 215-569-1999 or contact us online for a free consultation today. Located in Philadelphia, we proudly serve clients from the surrounding areas, including Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.