BBC ‘Did Not Have A Choice’ On Jeremy Clarkson’s Future

Employment Law Expert Reacts As Broadcaster Confirms Contract Will Not Be Renewed


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A specialist employment lawyer has said the BBC “did not really have a choice” regarding the decision to not renew Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson’s contract following allegations of an attack on one of the programme’s producers.

The BBC’s director general Tony Hall has announced that his contract will not be renewed, stating that “a line had been crossed” regarding the alleged “fracas” with Oisin Tymon in a hotel in Yorkshire.

An internal investigation by the BBC found that the producer went to hospital following the “unprovoked physical and verbal attack”. It is thought that Clarkson reported himself to the BBC following the incident.

Reacting to the news, Glenn Hayes, an employment partner at national law firm Irwin Mitchell, said that the broadcaster ultimately had to make that decision if it wanted to avoid potentially significant consequences down the line.

Expert Opinion
The BBC did not really have a choice. The suggestion that Jeremy Clarkson allegedly looked to punch one of his producers is very serious and in the workplace would usually be deemed gross misconduct and following a fair disciplinary hearing, would normally result in immediate dismissal without notice.

"Although the BBC had a petition with hundreds of thousands of signatures on it to have him ‘re-instated’ prior to his contract not being renewed, the corporation could have made a ‘rod for its own back’ if they put their demands first. ‎

"This would mean that it could have left itself open to unfair dismissal claims from other staff in the future if they were dismissed in similar circumstances, or for other perceived gross misconduct offences, and Clarkson was not."
Glenn Hayes, Partner