Samira Ahmed Wins BBC Equal Pay Case – 10th January 2020

Author:Ms Polly Rodway and Tom McLaughlin
Profession:Brahams Dutt Badrick French LLP

News TV host Samira Ahmed win her equal pay case against the BBC. Samira claimed that she had been underpaid for presenting Newswatch when compared to the pay received by Jeremy Vine for a similar BBC show, Points of View. Ahmed received £465 per episode for hosting Newswatch, while Vine received £3,000 per episode. Samira claimed she was owed almost £700,000 in back pay.

It was ruled unanimously that the BBC failed to prove the difference in their pay "because of a material factor which did not involve subjecting the claimant to sex discrimination".

Comments from Polly Rodway, Partner:

"In a strong judgment, the Tribunal has concluded that the BBC has fallen foul of the principle of equal pay for men and women. Specifically, that Ahmed was paid less for doing the same or broadly similar work to Jeremy Vine (comparing their work on Newswatch and Points of View) in circumstances where the BBC could not show that there was a neutral reason explaining the difference."

"The Tribunal was clearly satisfied that Ahmed's work was 'like' (i.e. the same or broadly similar to) Jeremy Vine's work."

"The burden therefore shifted to the BBC to show that the difference in their pay was for a reason other than gender (this is known as the material factor defence). The Tribunal was unconvinced (and seemingly unimpressed) by the BBC's arguments in this regard. Ahmed's claim was therefore successful."

"In seeking to justify the pay difference, the BBC relied on a number of points including the higher profile of Points of View (as compared to Newswatch), and the higher public profile of Jeremy Vine. The Tribunal dismissed both noting that the BBC had not put forward any evidence to show that the people who decided about Ahmed and Vine's pay had taken this into account. It could not therefore explain the reason for the difference. In fact in the case of audience recognition of Vine, the Tribunal scathingly notes that the BBC appeared to contradict itself by relying on Vine's...

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