Racing Pundit John McCririck sues Channel 4 for age discrimination

Love him or loathe him, John McCririck has been an eccentric figure on our televisions for 30 years as a pundit for Channel 4 Racing.

However, his long career with the broadcaster came to an end recently when IMG Sports Media took over the contract to produce Channel 4 Racing, and a number of the incumbent team were dropped, including Mr McCririck, 72.

Probably horse-racing’s best-known media personality, he claims that his sacking was age discrimination and will be taking Channel 4 to an employment tribunal seeking damages of £3 million.

The Equality Act 2010 covers discrimination in the workplace on the grounds of disability, sex, race and age, making it illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee on the grounds they are “too old for the job”.

On Tuesday of this week, both Channel 4 and IMG were served with a “letter before action”, and Mr McCririck and his legal team await a response before issuing proceedings at the end of the month.

In a statement Mr McCririck says he was “sacked without any consultation or cogent explanation” at the age of 72.

“For loss of future earnings, unfair career damaging, public humiliation, stress and mental anguish, I will be seeking £500,000. Ageism is illegal. For tens of thousands of employees it has become the feared scourge of our society.”

Mr McCririck will also be seeking punitive damages of £2.5m under the Equality Act 2010 and will donate part of the sum to charities involved in preventing prejudice in the workplace.

The flamboyant pundit says he will drop the action if fully reinstated by Channel 4, his costs are covered and he receives an apology.

This seems a little unlikely given the statement released by Channel 4: “We reject strongly the suggestion that discrimination on the basis of age played any part in the decision not to renew his freelance contract. We will rigorously be defending this claim.”

Mr McCririck will be very aware that the highest profile age discrimination case to date was also in the world of television, when Miriam O’Reilly from the BBC’s Countryfile programme accused the broadcaster of sacking her because of her age, and her claim was upheld. She received damages, the BBC was forced to apologise and subsequently reviewed its guidance on presenter appointments.

Either way, expect to see a lot more of John McCririck over the next few weeks…

If you believe you have been discriminated in the workplace because of your age, then get in touch for an informal discussion. Perhaps you have been sacked because you are perceived as “too old” for the job? Give us a call for FREE on 0800 014 8727 and we might be able to take your case on a “No Win, No Fee” basis.