The Employment Tribunal has recently upheld claims by former television presenter, Miriam O’Reilly, against the BBC for unfair dismissal on the grounds of age discrimination and victimisation. She failed in her claim for unfair dismissal on the grounds of sex discrimination. At the age of 53, the former Countryfile presenter was dropped from the programme, as were three other female presenters of a similar age to her.
Ms O’Reilly claimed that she had been unfairly blamed for articles in the media which criticised the BBC for dismissing female presenters who were middle aged. The Tribunal found that the discrimination against her was not justified and that her age was a significant factor in the BBC’s decision not to choose Ms O’Reilly to present the programme when it moved to a prime time slot.
The BBC has apologised to Ms O’Reilly and have said that it will give additional training to senior editorial executives on the fair selection of presenters. Ms O’Reilly will be receiving compensation from the BBC.