Northern Ireland news

Donna Traynor discrimination case against BBC settled, former news presenter believed to have received six figure sum

Former BBC news presenter Donna Traynor leaves the Office of the Industrial Tribunals at Killymeal House in Belfast. Picture by Liam McBurney/PA Wire
John Breslin

Former BBC presenter Donna Traynor received a pay out "consistent" with a redundancy package after 33 years working for the broadcaster.

All claims against the BBC are believed now settled following the abrupt ending of the long-time Newsline presenter's industrial tribunal case. 

Ms Traynor had accused the BBC and its director Adam Smyth, formerly head of news, of sex, age and disability discrimination. The case was settled with no admission of liability by either party.

Adam Smyth, director of BBC Northern Ireland, speaks to the media outside the Office of the Industrial Tribunals. Picture by Liam McBurney/PA Wire

“We settled Donna’s claims at a level of payment consistent with what we would pay out in a redundancy-type arrangement," a BBC spokesperson said.

Normal BBC policy on redundancy is one month’s pay for each year of service up to a maximum of 12 months’ pay. 

However, the parties are believed to have settled on an amount substantially more than the maximum 12 months. There was no information revealed on legal costs.

However, BBC sources refuted media reports that the settlement was over £1m.

The tribunal sat for a single day of public hearings, with Ms Traynor's counsel Paddy Lyttle claiming the former news reader was subjected to more than a year of "bullying and harassment" after objecting to changes that would have seen her role on the flagship television news programme reduced.

Donna Traynor leaving the tribunal hearing earlier. Picture by Hugh Russell
It also emerged that Ms Traynor's profound deafness in her left ear was the subject of various medical reports and many meetings in the lead up to  the long-time television news presenter quitting the BBC.

Following the announcement of the settlement, Ms Traynor wrote on social media: "My employment tribunal case is now settled and over. Many thanks to everyone who has sent me supportive messages in recent times.

Mr Smyth said: "We are very glad to have reached a resolution. We wish Donna all the best for the future. We strongly refuted all of the accusations against us. That is our position. The settlement we have reached today is acceptable."

In an agreed statement, Mr Lyttle said the "dispute between Donna Traynor and the BBC and Adam Smyth has ended, without any admission of liability on the part of either respondent".

He added: "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."

Northern Ireland news