Gizbert ready for Appeal Court fight

The claim by ABC television journalist Richard Gizbert that he was unfairly sacked for refusing to cover the Iraq War could be heading to the Appeal Court after an earlier employment tribunal ruling in his favour was overturned.

ABC News this week won an appeal against the tribunal decision in January that Gizbert, its former London correspondent, had been unfairly dismissed.

Gizbert is now seeking leave to appeal his case before the Court of Appeal.

Gizbert admitted that there were moments when he felt that the process was not worth the hassle. But he said: "It is worth it. Think about the consequences if we were to give this up and throw our hands up and say, ‘its not a health and safety issue'.

"Any news organisation could, if they just wanted to get rid of you, assign you not to Baghdad, but to Fallujah or Haditha and were you to turn that assignment down you would not be offered any protection under UK health and safety law."

The appeal tribunal concluded: "[Richard Gizbert] was under no obligation, contractual or otherwise, to visit war zones. [ABC News] operated a voluntary war zones policy.

"His place of work was London. He chose not to visit war zones. He was thus in no danger, let alone imminent danger, nor could he, in the circumstances, reasonably believe otherwise."

However, Gizbert said that, contrary to ABC's assertions, the decision taken this week did not find that the previous tribunal was wrong when it concluded that the main reason for his dismissal was his refusal to go to war zones.

"[This week's decision] just says that this case does not fall under UK health and safety law, and that, in its view, this could be an ordinary case of unfair dismissal," he said.

David Westin, president of ABC News, said in a statement: "We've made it abundantly clear that there will be no consequences for those who decline to enter war zones in pursuit of the news, and we're very pleased that today's court decision confirms our longstanding policy and soundly rejects any claim to the contrary."

 

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