Chester 01244 405555

Grosvenor Court
Foregate Street Chester
Cheshire CH1 1HG
DX: 19990 Chester

Shrewsbury 01743 443 043

Lakeside House
Oxon Business Park
Shrewsbury SY3 5HJ
DX: 148563 Shrewsbury 14

Airport City, Manchester 0844 800 8346

Office 129
Manchester Business Park
3000 Aviator Way
Manchester M22 5TG

Send us a message
Our Offices

Channel 4 did not discriminate against John McCririck

18th December, 2013

The recent case of McCririck v Channel 4 Television Corporation ET/2200478/2013 in which it was held that Channel 4 had not directly discriminated against Mr McCririck on the ground of his age, has attracted much media attention due to the high-profile claimant involved.

During his long television career, spanning over 30 years, Mr McCririck had become well known for presenting horse racing on Channel 4, along with appearing on various reality shows, his unique dress sense and controversial presentation style.

Since 2008, Channel 4 gradually decreased Mr McCririck’s presenting days until September 2012 when they received results of a survey which found that Mr McCririck was rather unpopular with the public, in comparison to various other television presenters also included in the survey. Channel 4 then removed Mr McCririck, at the time aged 72, from their broadcast of horse racing. It is notable that they did however, retain Ms Stevenson who was aged 42.

Mr McCririck brought a claim for direct age discrimination, however he could not bring an unfair dismissal claim as he was not an employee of Channel 4.

Under section 13(1) of the Equality Act 2010, direct age discrimination occurs where, because of age, A treats B less favourably than A treats or would treat others. There will be no direct age discrimination where A can show that its treatment of B is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim (section 13(2), Equality Act 2010). In a discrimination claim, the initial burden of proof rests with the claimant to prove a prima facie case of discrimination which the respondent then has to defend.

In this case, the Tribunal decided that the burden of proof had shifted to Channel 4 as Mr McCririck’s contract was terminated, whilst Ms Stevenson was retained and all of the presenters whose contracts were terminated during the same process were over the age of 50.

The passing of the burden of proof onto Channel 4 did not help Mr McCririck in this case and in dismissing his claim, it was held that Mr McCririck had not been directly discriminated against. The Tribunal could not find that Channel 4 had removed Mr McCririck due to his age and as such moved on to question whether Channel 4’s treatment could be described as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

Channel 4 asserted that their aim was to attract a wider audience to horse racing, which was held to be a legitimate aim and it was also held that Channel 4’s actions were a proportionate means of achieving that aim.

For further information and advice in relation to age discrimination, please contact Claire Brook on 01244 405575 or send an email to [email protected].

You might also be interested in...

Ethics Guidance – Transparency in Price and Service

16th November, 2018

It is reported that a quarter of all complaints dealt with by the Legal Ombudsman revolve around costs. Therefore to avoid complaints and confusion, it is important to be clear from the outset. The new Transparency Rules (which the SRA have now confirmed will come into effect on 6 December 2018) require that accurate and relevant information is... Read More »

Aaron & Partners Increases Recommendations in Leading Industry Guide, The Legal 500

5th November, 2018

Aaron & Partners LLP has once again seen improved rankings in The Legal 500 – a comprehensive guide... Read More »

Mental Health and Stress in the Workplace – 3/3

10th October, 2018

In the lead up to World Mental Health Day on 10 October 2018, we have been posting a series of short articles discussing mental health and stress in the workplace. In this final article, we will be providing tips, to employers and employees, for managing stress and dealing with mental ill health in the workplace. Click here to... Read More »

Contact Us