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Countryfool - BBC Loses Discrimination Claim

Former BBC presenter Miriam O'Reilly has successfully sued the BBC after alleging victimisation and age discrimination, however the tribunal rejected Miriam's allegation of sex discrimination.

Back in 2008, Miriam and three other female presenters - Charlotte Smith, 44, Juliet Morris, 43, and Michaela Strachan, 44, were told they would be dropped from the BBC flagship show Countryfile when it moved to a new Sunday timeslot.

Since being introduced back in 2006, the number of Discrimination claims received by the Employment Tribunal Service has increased by >500%, and with the recent introduction of the new Equality Act, this trend looks set to continue as many Employers struggle to get to grips with the complexity of this piece of employment legislation.

The BBC said in a statement that it accepted the findings of the tribunal and went on to say: "We would like to apologise to Miriam. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss working with her again. We clearly did not get it right in this case."

Avoiding Employment Tribunals

So how can Employers stay on the right side of discrimination laws?  Here's our 'Top 5 Tips':

1.  Raise your awareness - Be aware of your workplace demographics as well as cultural and language differences

2.  Review policies, practices and procedures and make amendments as necessary being sure to document your steps when you work through each process

3.  When executing policies, ensure you adopt a fair and equal approach with all employees

4.  Consider your management team and provide additional staff training, as required

5.  Seek professional advice and support - Commission an Audit to get a full and accurate understanding of your level of exposure

There are different types of discrimination:

  • Direct discrimination may happen when someone is treated less favourably because of their age, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or disability, and they’re disadvantaged as a result.
  • Indirect discrimination may happen if there’s a particular requirement put in place  – such as saying someone has to be a certain height to do a job – which means fewer people in a particular group, such as women, can meet the requirement and that requirement cannot be justified.
  • Victimisation may happen if someone is treated less favourably because other people suspect or know that they’ve made a complaint about discrimination or they’ve started, or given evidence at, discrimination proceedings.
  • Harassment may happen if someone behaves in a way that’s intimidating, hostile, humiliating or offensive to someone else, and the other person wants them to stop (There’s a separate policy about harassment that has more information).


Still unsure and concerned you may be exposed?  Call us today on 0800 612 4772 or Contact Us via our Website.


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