BBC presenter awarded cash payout after quitting over ‘bullying and poisonous atmosphere’

January 24, 2013 | by | 0 Comments
Suzanne Virdee, who has won a cash settlement from the BBC after dropping the threat to sue the corporation over alleged bullying

Former Midlands Today presenter Suzanne Virdee, who has won a cash settlement from the BBC after dropping the threat to sue the corporation over alleged bullying

A long-serving BBC presenter who quit the corporation claiming there was a “poisonous atmosphere” of bullying has been awarded a cash payout from bosses.

Suzanne Virdee, who hosted the popular evening news programme Midlands Today, walked out after 11-years at the BBC last March.

She later lodged a claim for an employment tribunal suing the BBC over the alleged bullying.

But the tribunal has now been dropped after she accepted a financial payout from the BBC.

It is understood a confidentiality clause has been agreed preventing any details emerging of the payout.

Virdee quit last year announcing that she would not be signing a new five-month contract because of what she had called “circumstances beyond my control”.

It later emerged the 42-year-old was ordered to leave before serving the last two days of her contract by BBC head of regional programmes in the West Midlands Cath Hearne.

Ms Hearne had been at the centre of an alleged bullying row in September 2010 after the NUJ passed votes of no confidence in her and the then acting editor Mark Hayman’s management.

An independent enquiry later rejected those claims after which Virdee issued a statement, saying she was “surprised and deeply saddened”.

The National Union of Journalists later issued a statement deploring the BBC’s treatment of the presenter.

A spokesperson said at the time: “This chapel deeply regrets the fact the BBC could not reach agreement with Suzanne Virdee over the continuation of her contract.

“We feel we are losing a first-class presenter and a valued colleague.

The BBC in Birmingham where Suzanne worked before quitting the corporation

The BBC in Birmingham where Suzanne worked before quitting the corporation

“We deplore the way she was treated by the BBC management over a considerable period of time but the decision not to allow her to present the programme and say goodbye after 11 years at Midlands Today is nothing short of disgrace.”

A BBC spokeswoman said: “The BBC does not comment on individual cases but any accusations of bullying are taken very seriously.”

The payout comes three months after BBC radio journalist Russell Joslin, 50, killed himself after claiming bosses ignored his pleas for help when he was allegedly sexually harassed by a female colleague.

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