A report in today’s Guardian newspaper outlines that Mr John McCririck is pursuing an Employment Tribunal claim against Channel 4 and IMG Sports Media after he was dropped from the presenting team of Channel 4’s flagship racing programme.
Mr McCririck, 72, has been involved with the Channel 4 horse racing programme, Channel 4 Racing, for almost 30 years. The racing production contract was previously handled by Highflyer but the contract was last year awarded to IMG Sports Media. This resulted in a “shake-up” of the Channel 4 Racing team; Claire Baldwin, 41, was hired to anchor Channel 4’s racing coverage from January 2013 and Mr McCririck was informed that his services were no longer required. Mr McCririck, who was employed on a one-year rolling contract by Highflyer, has subequently pursued an Employment Tribunal claim for age discrimination and unfair dismissal against Channel 4 and IMG Sports Medi, claiming that he was sacked “without any consultation or cogent explanation” in October 2012.
The pre-action letter sent to Channel 4 and IMG Sports Media yesterday read that he would be pursuing these parties for a claim for age discrimination and would be seeking £500,000 for the loss of future earnings, unfair career damaging, public humiliation, and stress and mental anguish. He further declared in an interview that “ageism is illegal. For tens of thousands of employees, it has become the feared scourge of our society. This litigation should prove to be a watershed”. He added that he would also be seeking an exemplary, punitive £2.5 million, part of which would be donated to charitable organisations so as to help prevent prejudice in the workplace.
Channel 4 commented that they were “grateful” to Mr McCririck but rejected that there had been any discrimination against him.
Mr McCririck has apparently taken employment law advice and is being represented by an unfair dismissal solicitor on a no win no fee basis in his Employment Tribunal claim. It appears that if Mr McCririck’s Employment Tribunal claim is to be within the relevant time limits then an ET1 claim form must be filed with the Employment Tribunal within the next few weeks.
Analysis – what is age discrimination?
There are a variety of types of age discrimination that can occur in the workplace: the most common types are direct age discrimination, indirect age discrimination and age-related harassment. Mr McCririck appears to be alleging that he was subjected to the first two formers (direct and indirect discrimination) as well as age-related harassment – the reference to “public humiliation” may be a suggestion of this. If Mr McCririck was to plead (and be successful with) a claim for indirect age discrimination then Channel 4 and IMG Sports Media would have the opportunity to defend the claim on the basis that the discrimination was legitimate and proportionate in the circumstances.
Employment Law Advice Solicitors are employment solicitors based in the City of London.