Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 28 February 2015

Dot Kirby leaves BBC after settlement

BBC Northern Ireland’s long-serving Health Correspondent Dot Kirby is leaving her job, after a resolution was reached on victimisation and discrimination complaints against the corporation.

Ms Kirby is taking ill-heath retirement having battled Multiple Sclerosis for 20 years.

She submitted complaints against the BBC last year, alleging victimisation and discrimination on grounds of disability, age and sex.

Her employer denied all the allegations, and has now reached an agreement without admitting liability.

The reporter — who has held the high-profile Health Correspondent’s post since 1994 — is understood to have received a payment equivalent to one year’s salary.

The resolution of the case was made public last night in a statement issued by the Equality Commission. It said: “The BBC’s Health Correspondent, Dot Kirby, has reached an agreement with the BBC in resolution of complaints she made to the Industrial Tribunal.

“Dot Kirby has been employed by the BBC since August 1986, and has been Health Correspondent since 1994. She has had MS for 20 years and her condition worsened over the past ten years.

“Dot Kirby submitted claims to the Industrial Tribunal in May and October 2008, alleging direct disability discrimination, disability related discrimination, victimisation, failure to make reasonable adjustments, sex discrimination and age discrimination. The BBC denies all of the allegations. Without admission of liability, Ms Kirby and the BBC have now reached an agreement.”

Eileen Lavery, Head of Strategic Enforcement in the Equality Commission, said the Commission was happy to see the matter resolved to the satisfaction of both parties.

A BBC staff source last night voiced concern at the declining number of senior female on-screen Newsline reporters.

“This seems to be a growing trend. Rose Neill went last year and now Dot. Maggie Taggart and Donna Traynor are the only two senior journalists aged over 40 left,” the source said.

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