Channel 4 are facing an Employment Tribunal for Age Discrimination after John McCririck was successful in a preliminary hearing to establish whether or not he had the right to bring a tribunal claim. Channel 4 had argued that McCririck was not an employee but the hearing decided otherwise and the case proceeds to a full tribunal to hear his claims of Age Discrimination. Channel 4 are denying the allegations that John McCririck was dropped from the 2013 presenting team due to his age.
John McCririck’s claim amounts to £3 million so we are sure both sides will be fighting this claim with everything they have.
This is an interesting case on two points. Firstly that the preliminary hearing made a decision that he was in fact an employee with the judge noting that he was “known as a Channel 4 face” despite Channel 4 arguing that he was employed by another organisation. Secondly that such a high profile Age Discrimination claim comes against yet another TV Channel after the BBC’s Countryfile case just two years ago.
For businesses this is a reminder that the issue of who is or is not an employee is not always as clear cut as you might first think, and that caution should be exercised in how you treat people so that they don’t accrue unintended employment rights, and that if they have you do not find yourself facing unfair dismissal, unfair treatment or discrimination claims.
And of course, it is as ever, a reminder that a discrimination claim can be highly costly. Businesses need a robust Equality Policy in place that all senior staff and managers are adhering to at all times in order to protect the business from any such claims as far as is possible.