“Hugs have become part of Ted Baker’s culture, but are absolutely not insisted upon.”

Fashion chain Ted Baker has launched an investigation into claims of “forced hugging” by the company’s boss.

More than 60 current or former staff have come forward to accuse Ray Kelvin, the founder of the luxury retail brand, of inappropriate behaviour.

They took to employee campaigning platform Organise with complaints of unwanted hugs, shoulder massages and ear kissing.

Ray Kelvin rarely shows his full face in photographs

A petition was set up, which also alleges that complaints to Ted Baker’s HR department have been ignored.

Ted Baker has defended its 62 year old founder, but insisted the claims will be probed.

In a statement, the firm said:

“It is critically important to us that every member of our staff feels valued and respected at work.”

“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’s currently “in dialogue” with Organise in order to “understand the details and nature of the claims”.