BBC News presenter launches legal battle against broadcaster after being off air for a year

Newsreader Martine Croxall has accused the BBC of age and sex discrimination (PA)
Newsreader Martine Croxall has accused the BBC of age and sex discrimination (PA)

The BBC is being taken to an employment tribunal by newsreader Martine Croxall who has accused the broadcaster of age and sex discrimination.

Ms Croxall, 55, who has not appeared on air since March 2023, is taking legal action after she and four other female employees lost their senior positions following the merger of the BBC’s News and World News channels, official documents reveal.

Listings for the proceedings, due to be held at London Central tribunal court from 1 May, reveal the case also centres around equal pay.

The legal proceedings are set to be one of the most high-profile tribunals faced by the BBC since it lost a gender pay dispute with Newswatch presenter Samira Ahmed.

Ms Croxall is one of five women – Karin Giannone, Geeta Guru-Murthy, Kasia Madera, and Annita McVeigh – who were allegedly snubbed by the broadcaster over chief presenter roles last February.

They came together to challenge the BBC and claimed that the selection process was rigged in favour of certain senior presenters before applications were even opened.

This is a claim that the broadcaster vehemently denies, having stated that they conducted an internal review into the matter.

Since then, the presenter, though still employed by the BBC but without a set role, has taken time out of work to travel while receiving her full pay package.

Croxall has been off-air since last March (BBC)
Croxall has been off-air since last March (BBC)

BBC director general Tim Davie said the broadcaster was attempting to work towards a “fair resolution” for the five women, who were asked to reapply for one of new two chief presenter jobs.

They were then told that if unsuccessful, the remaining three could be offered a new role as correspondents – an effective demotion from their previous positions as senior journalists.

Since then, Ms McVeigh and Ms Guru-Murthy have taken up two chief presenter roles, but the other three presenters affected remain off-air.

Mr Davie said: “It is not a good situation where you are paying people [who are not on air] and we are trying to get it resolved as fast as possible. I recognise that it has been going on for some time.”

Deadline reported that a source close to the situation said: “People are incandescent. It’s humiliating – you feel like you’re 21 again and applying for your first job on the BBC.”

The broadcaster has found itself in hot water with its employees before (PA)
The broadcaster has found itself in hot water with its employees before (PA)

This is not the first time that the broadcaster has been accused of sexism and it recently lost another tribunal over a gender pay gap.

A tribunal in 2020 found that Newswatch presenter Ms Ahmed should have been earning the same as male presenter Jeremy Vine.

According to reports, the broadcaster has now paid out £1m on legal fees fighting equal pay and race discrimination cases from their staff.

The Independent has reached out to Ms Croxall and the BBC for comment.