BBC and ex-presenter Donna Traynor settle discrimination case without admission of liability

The discrimination case brought by former newsreader Donna Traynor against the BBC has been resolved - with the settlement a "redundancy-type" deal.

In a joint statement the corporation and Ms Traynor said the dispute had ended without any admission of liability on either side.

The statement says that Ms Traynor acknowledged the BBC and its Northern Ireland director Adam Smyth continue to "refute strongly" all allegations made against them.

Both sides said they were "pleased the matter had been brought to a conclusion".

Asked about the use of BBC licence payers money for the case, he said they always sought to "maximise value for money".

"We treat licence fee payers very carefully and very sensitively."

He added: "We strongly refute all the allegations made against us that is our position and we believe the settlement we have reached today is acceptable.

"It is a very sad day but we are glad to have the dispute come to an end."

The settlement has been widely speculated in media circles. However, one BBC source described a £1.5m figure as "far from accurate".In a statement this evening, a BBC spokesperson said: “We settled Donna’s claims at a level of payment consistent with what we would pay out in a redundancy-type arrangement.”

In a tweet Ms Traynor said: "My employment tribunal case is now settled and over. Many thanks to everyone who has sent me supportive messages in recent times. Wishing you well. Donna."

She had been with the broadcaster for over 30 years.

Ms Traynor, a former BBC Newsline presenter, had alleged she was discriminated against on the basis of age, sex and disability.

As he left the tribunal, BBC NI Director Adam Smyth said he was "glad" a resolution was made between the parties.

"We wish Donna all the best for the future."

He was asked if there had been a financial settlement of £1.5million made with the former presenter.

He added: "You have heard the joint statement, we don't have any comment to make about the settlement beyond what has been said in the tribunal."

When the case opened on Wednesday, Ms Traynor's counsel, Patrick Lyttle KC, said she had faced bullying and harassment following her opposition to a BBC plan to move her to a radio position several days a week in 2019.

But on Friday, Mr Lyttle read out a short agreed statement between the two sides.

It stated: "The dispute between Donna Traynor and the BBC and Adam Smyth has ended, without any admission of liability on the part of either respondent.

"Donna Traynor acknowledges the BBC and Adam Smyth continue to refute strongly all the allegations made against them, including the claims made on the opening day of the tribunal.

"The parties are pleased that this matter has been brought to a conclusion and intend to put it behind them."

Ms Traynor resigned in November 2021 after nearly 33 years at the broadcaster.

She had raised a formal grievance after refusing to accept a plan that would have involved her moving to presenting the Evening Extra radio show several nights a week.

She joined the BBC in 1989 and presented radio news bulletins before moving into TV.

She has been nominated twice for the Royal Television Society award for presenter of the year.

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