Ex-HR head says he was bullied from his job

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Byron Myers, a former head of human resources at Studios & Post Production, is suing the BBC for damages, claiming he was bullied out of his job by his boss.

At an employment tribunal hearing, which started on Friday, Myers said he was insulted and humiliated by his boss Mark Thomas after he had accused the former S&PP CEO of sexual discrimination - allegations the BBC denies.

The claim centred on Thomas' alleged treatment of employee Katy Child, who had asked to work part-time when she returned from maternity leave in 2009.

In his witness statement Myers stated that Thomas would not entertain the proposal, believing that 'women with child caring responsibilities should not hold senior management positions'.

Myers said Thomas referred to Child, now an S&PP operations manager, as a 'bitch' who 'has had every guy in here wrapped around her finger'.

The BBC's QC denied the accusations that Thomas had made these comments, adding that Myers had 'made up a series of wholly untrue fictional lies about conversations with Mr Thomas'.

Myers claimed that he reminded his boss of his legal obligation to consider the flexible working request - a requirement reinforced by the BBC's own policy - but said that Thomas told him he would give Child an offer with such 'onerous' conditions that she would have to turn it down.

Later, Myers continued, Thomas said he would keep Child on an 'at risk' status for redundancy.

Big bonus

Myers said he raised concerns with colleagues but was told that John Smith, former CEO of Worldwide and chair of the S&PP board, would 'not like the idea of a formal investigation'. He said Smith had awarded Thomas a large bonus, despite the allegations.

But when Child submitted a formal complaint over her treatment, Myers said he was pressurised to sign a statement saying there had been no discrimination.

Instead, he made a complaint via the BBC's Public Disclosure (whistle-blowing) policy. He added that his involvement was supposed to be confidential but that this was not the case. As such, a 'cold war environment' developed between him and Thomas, he said, which led to him leaving his job due to stress.

The hearing is expected to last for 12 days, with a number of BBC and former BBC witnesses, including John Smith, expected to appear.


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