BBC host wins lawsuit against network over unequal pay
The BBC television host Samira Ahmed of “Newswatch,” who sued her company over unequal pay, has won her case against the network.
Ahmed filed her lawsuit against the British broadcaster late last year after finding that her payment per episode was only a sixth of Jeremy Vine, a broadcaster on the show “Points of View.”
Ahmed received no more than $565 per episode for a 15-minute program for the broadcaster. At the same time, Vine made about $3,850 per episode for a similar program during much of the same period, according to The New York Times.
In response, Vine accepted a pay cut to about $1,700 after learning of the pay disparity last year.
The BBC claimed during the hearing that Vine’s program required different skills because he is expected to be a friend to the audience in a way that Ahmed was not, saying that justified the pay difference, according to the Times.
The Central London Employment Tribunal panel found the work Ahmed and Vine did was similar, and that the BBC had not shown that the difference was not because of sex discrimination.
“No woman wants to have to take action against their own employer. I love working for the BBC,” Ahmed said in an emailed statement. “I’m glad it’s been resolved.”
Ahmed was pursuing almost $900,000 in back pay. The amount of her award will settle at a later date.
The case is particularly biting since the BBC has received criticism for its pay practices since 2017 when it was first required to publish salaries. The broadcaster is still receiving a significant number of complaints from other women. About 120 women were considering collective action against the broadcaster over equal pay as her case was in court.
On Friday, the BBC asserted, “For us, this case was never about one person, but the way different types of programs across the media industry attract different levels of pay.”
The broadcaster also acknowledged: “In the past, our pay framework was not transparent and fair enough, and we have made significant changes to address that.”