Tribunal rejects trans discrimination claim The Times 23.08.19

The original article is here.

A transgender former journalist at The Times has lost an employment tribunal claim that she was the victim of discrimination and unfair dismissal.

Katherine O’Donnell had claimed that there was a “toxic environment for trans people” at the newspaper and criticised its reporting of transgender stories.

The tribunal in Edinburgh was told that Ms O’Donnell was in the process of transitioning when she joined the newspaper’s staff in London as a sub-editor in 2004 and had thanked the senior staff for their support.

She later moved to the Scottish edition, where she was closer to her children. When production of the Scottish edition was moved to London, Ms O’Donnell, who was its night editor, was made redundant. She rejected the offer of a job as chief sub-editor in London on the same terms and conditions.

John Witherow, the editor of The Times, appeared as a witness at the tribunal and defended the paper’s coverage of transgender issues. He denied that there was bias or inaccuracy in its reporting.

Judge Jane Porter dismissed Ms O’Donnell’s claims of direct discrimination, harassment, victimisation and unfair dismissal after hearings that lasted a total of 19 days. In her judgment she wrote: “The tribunal does not accept the evidence of a ‘boys club’ during the claimant’s employment . . . there was a significant number of senior women in powerful positions.”

A spokeswoman for The Times said: “We are pleased this judgment dismisses all the claims made by the claimant and confirms that The Times took reasonable and appropriate decisions and did not show any anti-transgender bias towards its staff.”

Robin White, Ms O’Donnell’s barrister, said: “She has seen the judgment and is disappointed by it. She is studying it with her legal representatives to consider an appeal.”