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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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News: BBC HR whistleblower “bullied and harassed” into resigning

whistleblower

A former head of HR at the BBC claims that he was “bullied and harassed” into resigning after allegedly blowing the whistle on his boss for sexually discriminating against a female employee.

Byron Myers quit his £77,000 per year job as head of HR at BBC studios and post-production unit last December, following an internal investigation into the behaviour of his boss, chief executive Mark Thomas.
 
A female manager had complained that Thomas was trying to force her out of the broadcaster by refusing to allow her to work part-time on returning from maternity leave.
 
Myers allegedly told an internal investigation into the matter that he believed Thomas was guilty of discrimination because his aim was to get rid of women in senior roles who worked part-time.
 
But he claimed that, when his bosses drafted a formal response to the female manager’s complaint, they asked him to sign a statement to attesting that no such discrimination had taken place.
 
Myers told the Daily Telegraph: “I refused to change my evidence and, because I refused to toe the BBC line, I was bullied and harassed. It got to the point where it became intolerable so I resigned.”
 
Fit for purpose
 
He has now taken the BBC to an employment tribunal for alleged unfair dismissal and breach of contract, but has also asked MPs who will question the BBC’s director general George Entwistle next week to investigate whether the broadcaster’s whistleblowing procedures are fit for purpose.
 
Myers’ claims come after several female BBC presenters alleged that they were routinely groped by male colleagues, sometimes even while on air.
 
The BBC has launched an independent probe into whether a culture of sexually harassing female employees existed at the organisation and has also asked a former High Court judge to establish whether it covered up child sex abuse by Sir Jimmy Savile.
 
The female manager has since come to an arrangement with the corporation to work part-time, while its investigation into Thomas’ behaviour cleared him of sexual discrimination, but recommended that his management style was addressed.
 
A BBC spokesman said that the broadcaster had “clear whistleblowing mechanisms and harassment policies in place, which are reviewed periodically”.
 
He added that the corporation was “vigorously contesting” Myers’ allegations, but because they were the subject of an on-going tribunal claim, “it would be inappropriate for us to comment further”.
 
 
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Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett
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