Judgment 4-4-2012

Findings of Fact

7.8 Like many corporate organizations the BBC has a set of values, or a mission statement, which it publishes, and expects its employees to follow. These values are as follows. Trust- the BBC is independent, impartial and honest. Audiences –are at the heart of what the BBC does. Quality- the BBC takes pride in delivering quality and value for money. Creativity – is the lifeblood of the BBC. Respect – each other and celebrate diversity so everyone can give their best and working together – one BBC where great things happen.

7.12  Mr Husaini very quickly formed an opinion that the claimant was struggling. Mr Hussaini was particularly concerned about the claimant’s communication skills and his his ability to communicate clearly and concisely – an essential skill when working under time pressure. He was also concerned about the claimant’s editorial judgment. In February 2006 the claimant had approached Mr Husaini about running interviews on the Network in relation to the September 11th terrorist attacks in the US in 2001. The claimant wished to broadcast two interviews which focused on conspiracy theories in relation to 9/11, and in particular on the theory that the American government was responsible for the attacks and had arranged to blow up the twin towers with explosives at the same time as crashing two aircraft into the buildings. Mr Husaini considered that the claimant showed poor editorial judgment in wanting to broadcast these interviews as he considered the theories lacked credibility, and that if such theories were to be broadcast, they needed to be challenged in a critical and cogent manner, which the claimant had not done. He suggested to the claimant that if something was to be broadcast on this issue it would need to be a very carefully produced piece and he told the claimant and he told the claimant that he should give it further consideration, pages 1528-1531. It was suggested by the claimant in cross-examination that Mr Hussaini’s credibility in relation to this interview was undermined because in his original witness statement he had said the interviews prepared by the claimant were with William Rodriguez, and had then changed this evidence in a supplemental statement once he had seen the claimant’s evidence. Mr Husaini had changed his evidence, but only to the extent that he accepted that the interviews were with Dr David Ray Griffin and Nafeez Ahmed, not William Rodriguez. For the avoidance of doubt we do not consider that this in any way impacted on Mr Husaini’s credibility.He admitted his mistake, which we consider to be a minor one, particularly given that he was having to recall an incident that, by the point of drafting his witness statement, was several years old and he remained consistent on the remaining facts relating to the incident, which were in any event consistent with the emails referred to above at pages 1528-1531.

Conclusions

21. We would firstly like to say a word about the credibility of the claimant. We drew adverse inferences in respect of credibility for a number of reasons. Firstly the claimant failed to put to any of the thirteen witnesses called by the respondent that they knew of his belief in the higher purpose of public service broadcasting. He also failed to put to any of the thirteen witnesses that their actions were in anyway influenced by his belief in the higher purpose of public service broadcasting. He failed to put to any of the respondents witnesses that his age in anyway influenced their actions and decisions. We were mindful that the claimant was representing himself and we considered therefore that we should be cautious in drawing an adverse inference from this. Nevertheless these omissions were striking for two reasons. Firstly there was a wholesale failure to challenge even one of the respondent’s witnesses. This failure has to be set in the context of a claimant who is a relatively sophisticated litigant in person, who had clearly spent time researching the law and who produced no less than 11 case authorities for us to consider. Secondly we considered it noteworthy that during the five years the claimant said he was subjected to discrimination because of his belief and his age, there was not a single complaint made to his employer to this effect. The claimant himself accepted in cross-examination that he had never raised a complaint with the respondent about discrimination because of age or belief. Again we considered we have to be cautious in drawing an inference from a lack of contemporaneous complaint, because there may be many reasons why a person who is the victim of discrimination may not feel able to complain at the time. Again, however we considered the context of the failure to complain to be important. This was a claimant who raised numerous grievances and appeals. These grievances and appeals were often accompanied by extremely lengthy written submissions. The claimant felt able, in these complaints, to make serious accusations against the respondent including that they were acting maliciously and that the process was a charade, yet in not one of those documents does the claimant ever suggest the treatment he received was because of his age or belief. He does occasionally, make reference to the “BBC Values”, in the context of there being a lack of BBC Values applied to him, or, as he stated at his appeal against dismissal, that he was dismissed for upholding the BBC Values, but the evidence before us from the respondent was that the BBC Values are a mission statement incorporating the following behavioural characteristics; Trust – the BBC is independent, impartial and honest. Audiences – are at the heart of what the BBC does. Quality – the BBC takes pride in delivering quality and value for money. Creativity – is the lifeblood of the BBC. Respect – each other and celebrate diversity so everyone can give their best and Working Together – one BBC where great things happen. That these were the BBC values was not challenged by the claimant and it seems to us therefore that the BBC Values are distinct from the belief which the claimant holds in the higher purpose of public service broadcasting, which has been found to be a protected belief. Even if, when the claimant referred to the BBC Values, he actually meant the higher purpose of public service broadcasting it is noteworthy that that nowhere is this set out or explained, particularly given the degree of detail in which in which the claimant felt able to complain about his treatment. Thirdly we considered the claimant’s credibility generally to be poor. His evidence was inconsistent and at times very hard to follow. Accordingly we considered there to be serious issues with the claimant’s credibility. and this has underpinned many of the findings of fact that we have made when a dispute of fact occurred.

4 thoughts on “Judgment 4-4-2012

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s