Jen Pharo, The Sun, June 2, 2016
The BBC has been blasted for rejecting work applicants because they are white.
It advertised two £25,000 junior scriptwriting roles for shows like Holby City, but said they were only for people from “ethnic minority backgrounds”.
One outraged job-hunter said: “It’s racial discrimination and just wrong.
“If you applied for a position and got a reply saying it was only open to white applicants you’d quite rightly not be happy.
“This is exactly the same.”
The Sun can reveal the Beeb is running four recruitment schemes open only to black, Asian or ethnic minorities.
It has recruited 17 presenters and ten writers in two years via the Creative Diversity Talent Fund, Senior Leadership Development (Clore) Programme, Assistant Commissioner Development Programme and Creative Access Trainee Scheme.
Under the Equality Act it is illegal to discriminate against job applicants on grounds of race, unless crucial to the role.
The BBC last night insisted the positions were not jobs, but trainee schemes.
And it said the scriptwriter pay was an allowance rather than a wage.
But Dr Jonathan Lord, Salford University’s lecturer in HRM & Employment Law, said: “Using trainee contracts is common practice to get around employment legislation.
“They have to be careful as the amount paid as allowance could mean they may be construed as employees.
“The Equality Act was implemented to protect everyone regardless of background or demographic.”
Top employment lawyer Paul Gilroy QC of Littleton Chambers said: “Discrimination law applies to training as well as the employment field.
“Just because the label of ‘trainee scheme’ is used does not mean that someone who is accepted onto the scheme is not an employee.
“It is possible to restrict certain job vacancies to certain groups but only where there is an ‘occupational requirement’ that the successful candidate has to come from that group.
“That requirement must be crucial to the post. An Employment Tribunal will examine very carefully whether an ‘occupational requirement’ truly does exist.”
The BBC said ads made it clear the roles were for candidates from ethnic minorities.
A spokesman said: “This is a training and development programme designed to address an under-representation of people from ethnic minority backgrounds in script editing roles.”
BBC veteran Paul Gambaccini has blasted bosses’ treatment of old-timers in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.
The 67-year-old — off-air for a year until cleared of historic sex claims — said director general Tony Hall “was happy to throw us all over the side to de-Savilise the BBC”.
Gambaccini is replacing sacked Tony Blackburn on Radio 2’s Pick of The Pops.