Whistleblower law failed me, claims Mayer

Mayer: Condemned loopholes in the law that failed to protect him

Laurie Mayer, the former BBC News South East anchor has insisted he scored “an overwhelming moral victory” against the broadcaster despite losing his appeal for a claim for unfair and constructive dismissal.

He also said the law was “an ass” for failing to protect him from dismissal as a whistleblower, despite the existence of the Public Disclosure Interest Act of 1998 for that purpose.

Mayer left the BBC in September 2002, after raising allegations of bullying at the Tunbridge Wells newsroom, in what he called a “culture of intimidation.”

His allegations sparked an internal inquiry led by former BBC head of news Richard Ayre, who concluded that there had been “inappropriate management behaviour which could have led to people feeling intimidated.”

His report was not shown to the tribunal.

Mayer, who had spent 30 years at the BBC, walked out of the newsroom after being told shortly before going on air, that his contract would not be renewed. He had been at Tunbridge Wells for 14 months, after a spell as Mohammed Al fayed’s spokesman.

Following the appeal he told Press Gazette: “The law says, “if you blow the whistle you should suffer no detriment.”

And that tribunal said ‘yes, he did blow the whistle and he did lose his job as a result,’ yet somehow I still haven’t ‘suffered a detriment.’ It’s bonkers really.”

“The appeal was on the whole issue of whether the final meeting I had just before I went on air breached the trust and confidence between employer and employee,” Mayer explained.

“I would have thought most reasonable people would think that being told for the first time that the figures are terrible, and that there had been lots of complaints about your presentation just before you are due to go on air, is calculated to undermine trust and confidence.”

Mayer’s case was backed by the NUJ whose broadcasting organiser Paul McLaughlin said that until the BBC puts its house in order, bullying will continue to be a sore within the organisation.

He added:”The original tribunal accepted that his allegations of bullying were subject to Public Disclosure Interest Act, and also accepted that the bullying existed and that it was prevalent.

There’s been no apology to the victims of bullying and the BBC, when confronted with bullying, seems to promote the bullies.”

The BBC said: “The Employment Appeals Tribunal has confirmed the decision of the original tribunal to reject all Mr Mayer’s claims.”

By Wale Azeez

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