The BBC Loses Discrimination Case
Recently an Employment Tribunal found in favour of Miriam O’Reilly’s claim against the BBC based upon the grounds of age and sex discrimination. Miss O’Reilly (51 years of age) was a presenter on the BBC programme Countryfile, but she lost her job to a younger woman (Julia Bradbury aged 40). The older male presented (John Craven aged 68) was retained. The BBC had moved the show to a more “prime-time” slot and as part of a “make over” Miss O’Reilly lost her job.
The evidence presented on Miss O’Reilly’s behalf included reference by her colleagues to her wrinkles and her grey hair.
In its defence the BBC claimed it wanted to ensure that its presenters reflected the diversity of its audience. The Tribunal however held that it had acted unlawfully in putting too much emphasis on youth.
Daven Naghen, head of our Employment Team commented as follows:-
“This case actually highlights the provisions in the new Equality Act 2010, which says that claims can be brought on a basis of combined characteristics. These provisions are not yet in force, but will allow an employee to identify any two of the protected characteristics (e.g. sex, age, race, disability, gender reassignment, religion or belief, marriage/civil partnerships and pregnancy/maternity) in order to allege discrimination arises because of the particular combination and not because of one of the protected characteristics in isolation.
Hence when these new provisions come into force claims like Miss O’Reilly’s will be even stronger as they can be expressed as arising from the combination of two protected characteristics (e.g. as in this case age and sex) rather than from either of these alone.
If you need advice about the Equality Act 2010 and/or discrimination claims then please contact Daven Naghen on 01775 722261 or firstname.lastname@example.org.