A sacked BBC staff member who applied to the corporation on a scheme for the disabled is suing her former bosses for unfair dismissal after they claimed to be unaware of her mental health issues.
Jayne Lutwyche, who has Asperger’s syndrome, bipolar disorder, dyslexia and dyspraxia, worked as online producer in the corporation’s religion and ethics department from 2012, but she was sacked after eight months for “behavioural issues”.
According to the Daily Mail, the employment tribunal at Alexandra House, Manchester, heard that Miss Lutwyche had originally joined the BBC in 2008 through a journalism scheme for the disabled. She claims she was completely open about her condition when she was given the job at the religion and ethics department, but bosses dispute this.
Miss Lutwyche told the hearing: “In my interview in 2008 I talked at length about my disabilities and what that would entail. My belief is that I had told Mr Ord [religion and ethics editor] about dyslexia and dyspraxia.
“I spoke to him about being disabled so was under the impression that he was aware I was disabled and I been to the BBC as a disabled employee. I assumed he would know that I had been on the scheme.”
She says that she became concerned about her job after another employee was taken on to perform many duties similar to hers. She told the hearing that her concerns about the potential job clash were ignored, with Mr Ord telling her “not now”.
Her problems then came to a head during a live ‘web chat’ for a festival described by the BBC as an “event to explore the essential issues of faith, philosophy and ethics”. The tribunal was told that Miss Lutwyche, who admits that her disabilities can make her appear blunt, became “confrontational” during the online meeting.
The BBC’s barrister, Tom Brown, questioned Miss Lutwyche’s behaviour towards her colleagues, and asked her about how open she was about her disabilities.
The tribunal continues.