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Woman paid less than male peers at BBC says they have destroyed her career

After a former employee at the BBC filed a claim for unequal pay the BBC was ordered to pay her £130,000. 15 male colleagues in equivalent roles all earned higher salaries.

Caroline Barlow says that the BBC has not only destroyed her career, they have also damaged her self-confidence and mental wellbeing. The BBC may say one thing in public about their equal pay policies, but they continue to compensate men and women differently.

Ms Barlow worked as broadcaster for the BBC for six years before resigning. Her reason for the resignation was constructive dismissal. She also claimed that she had been harassed and discriminated against and this had made her position untenable.

The BBC published career path framework data in 2017 and Ms Barlow said that she felt they would act in good faith. At that time, she still believed that the BBC were trying to address her problem. She soon realised that nothing was being done about her grievance.

Ms Barlow initiated an informal pay enquiry and received a 25% pay increase. She received no explanation as to why she was given the pay rise.

Still suspecting that she was being paid less than her male colleagues Ms Barlow raised a formal grievance. She found out then that she was still paid £9,000 less than her male colleagues. Some of the men were paid as much as £69,000 more than her.

Speaking to the Guardian Ms Barlow said that ‘inequality at the BBC is a choice.’ She admitted that they had destroyed her career. Her confidence and mental wellbeing had also been adversely affected. No amount of money could bring that back.

While the BBC denied the allegations, they did agree to settle out of court in May on condition that Ms Barlow withdraw her claim. The amount included a termination fee. They also admitted that she had been paid significantly less than the 15 male colleagues although they said the reasons were ‘non gender related.’

A spokesperson for the BBC said that they did not believe it to be appropriate to comment on a matter which had been resolved some time ago.

The settlement did not include a non-disclosure clause.

Ms Barlow stated that the BBC refusing to explain the pay difference, particularly when they claimed they had a transparent process in place, was annoying. She felt undermined and side-lined. They also spent a great amount of time and public money trying to justify to her why she was considered less valuable than the male colleagues.

In 2018 a committee of MP’s accused the BBC of ‘invidious, opaque decision making.’ They demanded that the BBC make improvements.

BBC Former China editor Carrie Gracie left her role, claiming gender-pay inequality after she found out she was paid far less than her male colleagues. Jon Sopel, North American editor earned £200,000 and £250,000 compared to her £134,000.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission began to investigate the BBC in March 2019 for several claims regarding unequal pay. They expect this investigation to be concluded by December.

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