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BBC spending GBP 1 million on legal fees fighting gender cases

The BBC has spent more than GBP 1 million on legal fees fighting equal pay and race discrimination cases brought by staff, it has been disclosed, UK’ s Press Gazette Press Gazette reports.

NUJ corporation hired external solicitors to spend 2,688 hours on equal pay and race discrimination employment tribunal claims brought since July 2017, and was billed GBP 1,121,652 in fees for both solicitors and barristers. The figures do not cover costs of ongoing tribunal claims.

The information was revealed in a letter from the BBC to the DCMS (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) Committee, which has been made public by the committee after MPs pressed director-general Tim Davie for the figures.

Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said the figures showed the BBC had spent a “shocking sum of money” on “defending the indefensible”.

“There have been so many occasions in the past four years when the NUJ has urged the BBC to stop wasting money on lawyers and instead sort things out sensibly with individuals who have been discriminated against and cheated out of pay and pension contributions”, she said.

There have been several cases where female staffers after court cases or negotiations have been given an excuse and back pay. One journalist who got back pay donated the money to gender equality charity The Fawcett Society, to set up a fund for women who need legal advice on equal pay claims.

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