Former BBC executive makes Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal

MoJA former executive at the BBC has, according to the Guardian, made a claim for unfair dismissal against his former employer after he was dismissed for the failure of a major IT project.

Mr John Linwood, former BBC chief technology officer, has made a claim for unfair dismissal to the Employment Tribunal after he was dismissed in 2013 for the failure of a major technology project at the BBC.

Mr Linwood – who earned £287,000 at the BBC in his position – commenced employment with the BBC in X and headed up the BBC’s technology department. However, Mr Linwood’s position at the BBC came under threat in X after the failure of the Digital Media Initiative, £100-million a project that was supposed to convert all media at the BBC into a digital format. Mr Linwood – who was project sponsor and chair of the DMI – was dismissed after management at the BBC lost confidence in the DMI and in Mr Linwood’s project management abilities.

After being dismissed Mr Linwood made a claim to the Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal, claiming that his dismissal had been both procedurally and substantively unfair. The Employment Tribunal hearing went ahead at the Central London Employment Tribunal last week, with Mr Linwood giving evidence that he was made a “scapegoat” by the BBC for the failure of DMI although the project only occupied approximately 5% of his time in his role. Mr Linwood further gave evidence to the Tribunal that he was the “Admiral of the fleet” in his department at the BBC, rather than the “captain of the DMI ship”. Mr Linwood is seeking in his claim that it was unfair and unreasonable to hold him solely responsible for the failure of the project.

The BBC argued that there was a loss of confidence in DMI from some of its departments, such as its information and archive department.

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “If an employer is seeking to dismiss an employee for reasons of capability rather than conduct then they must give the employee fair notice of the alleged issues with their performance and must give the employee time and guidance to improve their performance; a failure to take these steps may result in a time-consuming and expensive Employment Tribunal claim from the dismissed employee.”

The Employment Tribunal hearing is now believed to have concluded and judgment is expected at some point in the future.