UNiDAYS founder denies harassment claims

Image caption Josh Rathour has been celebrated for his entrepreneurship.

The chief executive of popular student discount site UNiDAYS has strongly denied claims made against him in an anonymous online petition.

More than 750 people have signed a letter accusing Josh Rathour, who set up the company in 2011, of sexual harassment and bullying.

The allegations were made on Organise, a campaign website that hosted a petition against the boss of Ted Baker.

A spokesperson for Mr Rathour said he "would welcome any investigation".

A statement from UNiDAYS said the company would be conducting an investigation in the new year "to establish the facts".

The firm, which offers money off clothes, gadgets, music, transport and food has grown into a global brand.

The site, and accompanying app, both marketed at "Generation Z," boasts 10 million members.

Its many partners include Adidas, Asos, Microsoft, Nike and Topshop.

Image caption UNiDAYS was founded, and is based, in Nottingham

The petition, which was published on Saturday, claims inappropriate behaviour at UNiDAYS was "rife and wholly unchecked".

It also alleges that some staff were made to sign so-called "gagging orders" - effectively banning them from disclosing their grievances.

UNiDAYS' human resources team, it adds, "wilfully ignored reports of harassment".

A spokesperson for Mr Rathour said he was "confident any investigation will not find any truth in the allegations about his behaviour at work".

The spokesperson added that the culture at UNiDAYS was inclusive and respectful and that half the line managers were female.

A source close to the firm claimed none of the allegations detailed in the petition had officially been put to the company.

Mr Rathour, 36, has been celebrated for his entrepreneurship.

His firm, which is headquartered in Nottingham, has offices in London, New York and Sydney, and employs more than 250 people worldwide.

In 2015, UNiDAYS was crowned Digital Business of the Year.

Image caption Organise founder Nat Whalley says former UNiDAYS employees were inspired by a Ted Baker petition

Allegations of harassment at the company had appeared on the workplace review site Glassdoor, but have since been removed.

Nat Whalley, the founder of Organise which is hosting the current petition, said it was started by a group of former UNiDAYS employees.

She says they were inspired by a similar petition against Ray Kelvin, the founder of Ted Baker, calling for an end to "forced hugging" and a culture of harassment.

Mr Kelvin has now taken a leave of absence while the company conducts an independent external investigation into the claims.

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Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46651593

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