Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

BSkyB 'Forced out Pregnant Mother'; Broadcaster's Bosses Conspired against Women, Tribunal Is Told

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

BSkyB 'Forced out Pregnant Mother'; Broadcaster's Bosses Conspired against Women, Tribunal Is Told

Article excerpt

Byline: Benedict Moore-Bridger

A MOTHER claims she was forced out of her job at broadcaster BSkyB a day before going on maternity leave because the company did not want pregnant women on the staff.

Natalie Stone, 34, alleges she was pushed aside during a "restructuring" because she had two young children and was expecting a third.

Mrs Stone, who worked part-time as a senior content editor for the Sky Player service at Sky Movies online, was overlooked for a new position of producer which was instead given to a senior executive's personal assistant.

She, along with her jobshare colleague, mother-of-one Victoria Waterson, 31, are suing the company for unfair dismissal, part-time discrimination and sex discrimination. They are both being represented by their lawyer husbands.

It comes after news that Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation launched an [pounds sterling]8 billion bid for outright control of BSkyB, which is chaired by his son James Murdoch.

Croydon employment tribunal heard that the two women had unsuccessfully applied for the new position after the restructuring of Sky Movies online was ordered last June, creating a separate video-on-demand department.

The job instead went to Dee Lakhan, PA to the head of movies networked media, Mike Taylor.

The women also accused senior bosses of conspiring to ensure they were not chosen for the role.

Ian Lewis, director of Sky Movies who ordered the restructuring, was called to give evidence at the hearing.

He denied that Ms Stone and Mrs Waterson were chosen for redundancy because they were women or had children, and insisted the selection process for the new role had been "transparent" and "legitimate".

He told the tribunal changes to the department were necessary as it had begun to "stagnate".

Mr Lewis said: "Our performance had stagnated. As we got closer and closer to the end of our fiscal year I felt we needed to do something more significant than the changes we had made previously. …

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