Ted Baker harassment probe finds “areas for improvement”

Mark Johnson's picture
by Mark Johnson

An investigation into harassment complaints at UK fashion brand Ted baker has found several areas where systems need to be improved and the firm is also introducing a confidential whistleblower’s phone line.

The independent investigation was conducted by law firm Herbert Smith Freehills into allegations about former CEO Ray Kelvin's conduct (which he denies) and the company's policies, procedures and handling of employee grievances has now been concluded. 

From this work, HSF has identified several areas for improvement in the company's HR policies and procedures. As a result, the company has already begun a refresh of its HR policies to ensure their alignment with current best practice.

Actions being taken include:

  • Renewed training for all employees on HR policies and procedures and on acceptable workplace conduct.
  • Maintaining an independent and confidential whistleblowing hotline.
  • Enhancing the oversight of both people and culture matters at the Plc Board. As part of this, Sharon Baylay will continue in her new role on the Plc Board as designated non-executive director for engagement with the Ted workforce.

Further actions will be considered and implemented in consultation with employees and other key stakeholders, the company said. 

Ongoing survey of staff

As part of this, later this year Ted Baker will conduct a survey open to all of the company's employees about the working environment at Ted Baker in order to gauge views on the improvements that have been made, and any further ones that can be made in order to make Ted Baker an even better place to work.

"We are determined to learn from this process and, moving forward, cultivate a better environment for all employees where they always feel respected and valued”, said Executive Chairman David Bernstein. 

“We are implementing changes and improvements and are committed to developing best-practice HR policies and procedures that reflect the Ted culture we are looking to develop and enhance in the future.

“One of Ted Baker's greatest strengths is its people. I would like to thank our team for their co-operation and input during this process and for their continued hard work and commitment.  I am confident that this skilled and dedicated team will continue to drive the Ted Baker brand forward."

Ted Baker said that in light of Kelvin's resignation on 4 March 2019, the conclusions and recommendations of the HSF investigation have focused on the company's policies, procedures and handling of HR-related complaints. The company said it will not be making any comment on the specific allegations which were made against Kelvin.

As part of the investigation, HSF interviewed a significant number of people, Ted Baker said in a stock market statement. This included current and former employees of the company, as well as others who have had the opportunity to closely observe employees at Ted Baker. HSF has also reviewed documentary evidence from the company and provided by interviewees.

Ted Baker's shares were 0.8 per cent higher at £15 on the London Stock Exchange on Thursday morning.

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