Female journalist wins pay-discrimination case against BBC

International

FILE – This Nov. 4, 2019 file photo shows journalist, writer and broadcaster Samira Ahmed in London. An employment tribunal ruled Friday Jan. 10, 2020, that Samira Ahmed who was paid a fraction of the fee received by a male colleague doing a similar job has won a sex-discrimination lawsuit against the British broadcaster. (Yui Mok/PA via AP)

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LONDON (AP) — A BBC journalist who was paid a fraction of the fee received by a male colleague doing a similar job has won a sex-discrimination lawsuit against the British broadcaster.

An employment tribunal ruled Friday that Samira Ahmed should have received similar compensation to Jeremy Vine. Both presented programs that dealt with audience comments and complaints about BBC programs.

Ahmed was paid 465 pounds ($608) per episode of “Newswatch” on the BBC News Channel while Vine received 3,000 pounds ($3,920) for each episode of “Points of View” on the more widely watched channel BBC One.

Tribunal judges said the work involved was “the same or, if not the same, very similar” and the BBC had failed to prove that the pay gap was “because of a material factor which did not involve subjecting the claimant to sex discrimination.”

Ahmed said after the judgment that she looked forward to being able “to report on stories and not being one.”

“No woman wants to have to take action against their own employer,” she said. “I love working for the BBC. I’m glad it’s been resolved.”

The BBC said it was committed to equal pay, but “we have always believed that the pay of Samira and Jeremy Vine was not determined by their gender. Presenters — female as well as male — had always been paid more on ‘Points of View’ than ‘Newswatch.’

“We’ll need to consider this judgment carefully,” the broadcaster added.

The publicly funded BBC has been struggling to close its gender pay gap, which was highlighted in 2017 when the broadcaster was forced to publish a list of employees earning 150,000 pounds or more a year. Two-thirds of those on the list were men.

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