Top Gear Presenter Jeremy Clarkson Suspended By BBC

Investigation Underway Into Alleged ‘Fracas’ Involving Producer

11.03.2015

David Shirt, Press Officer | 0161 838 3094

The BBC has suspended Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson following allegations of him attempting to punch a producer.

In a statement, the broadcaster said that the 54-year-old presenter has been suspended pending an investigation into claims of a ‘fracas’, with it also confirming that the motoring show will not be broadcast on Sunday (March 15th) as planned.

Following the news, an online petition was established calling for Clarkson to be reinstated, with thousands of people already signing the document.

The allegations have come following a spate of other controversial incidents involving the presenter, including an incident in Argentina involving a number plate believed to reference the Falklands War and leaked footage allegedly showing him using a racist term.

A special Top Gear filmed in Burma was also ruled by Ofcom to break broadcasting rules following Clarkson’s use of derogatory language in the episode.

Expert Opinion
Generally, employers should only suspend for as short a time as possible to allow an employer to investigate the complaints before deciding on whether there is sufficient evidence to bring disciplinary proceedings.

"Although it is impossible to say at this stage whether Jeremy Clarkson will be dismissed, even if the offence is relatively minor the BBC may decide to dismiss him as he is already on a final written warning.‎

"The difference here is that the offence may not be relatively minor. The suggestion that Jeremy Clarkson allegedly sought to punch one of his producers is very serious and certainly in the workplace would usually be deemed gross misconduct and, following a fair disciplinary hearing, would likely result in immediate dismissal without notice.

"The BBC now have to decide what to do and with over 120,000 license payers signing a petition to have him reinstated, the corporation could be making a “rod for its own back” if they put their demands first and decide not to terminate Clarkson’s employment. ‎

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