TV Presenter Sues Over Sexual Harassment

TV presenter sues over harassment 25825

A British television presenter, Charlie Vernon, has been awarded compensation for sexual harassment after being sacked for making a rude hand gesture to abusive studio colleagues live on air.

Ms Vernon's actions were sparked off by being called a "whore" through her earpiece while presenting the show, Jewellery Maker.

A viewer complained after she gestured towards colleagues with her middle finger in response, leading to the former CBBC, GMTV and Channel 5 worker losing her job.

She has been awarded £3,250 after successfully suing her former employer, Redditch-based Genuine Gemstone Company, for sexual harassment at a Birmingham employment tribunal

"There's always the odd distraction joke among the camera crews during transmission, but it's usually innocent and friendly. I've never been insulted before by such crude language," said the experienced 28-year-old presenter.

"This was taken to a different level and I did my best to carry on with the show despite what was going on."

Paul Roberts, representing the company, suggested her actions could have put the organisation into disrepute and pointed out that the firm denies Ms Vernon's allegations.

He also suggested that the presenter was only working with the company, which employs more than 600 people across the globe, on a freelance basis. However, she denies this and claims to have been sent to India to handle gems as part of her training for the permanent role.

After a two-day hearing tribunal judge Miss Victoria Dean decided that Ms Vernon could be considered an employee for the purposes of the case and agreed that she had been subject to unfair sexual harassment, hence her decision to award her damages.

Despite this, she rejected the former TV presenter's claim for unfair dismissal, suggesting that the firm had acted "within the range of reasonable responses" by dismissing her for misconduct following her rude gesture, which attracted one viewer complaint.

According to the 2012 Creative Skillset Employment Census, released last year, the number of women working in TV is on the up in the UK.