Anglia duo launch legal action

TWO former Anglia TV reporters are today launching legal action against the broadcaster over claims they were victims of unfair dismissal and age discrimination.

TWO former Anglia TV reporters are today launching legal action against the broadcaster over claims they were victims of unfair dismissal and age discrimination.

Dianne >> Stradling and Rebecca Atherstone, who are in their 50s, claim they were made to re-apply for their jobs - only to be allegedly rejected in favour of younger women.

The allegations relate to the major restructuring of Anglia TV earlier this year when around 30 jobs were cut as part of plans to merge its east and west programmes.

Dianne Stradling, who was based in Ipswich, claims she was discriminated against on the basis of her age.

In legal documents drawn up for her employment tribunal, the 53-year-old alleged: “My employer made me redundant by pretending my job was redundant. It is not.

“It is being done by a younger person, simply with another job title.”

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Rebecca Atherstone, who was also based in Ipswich, said it felt like “having an arm cut off” to find herself in a similar alleged situation after 30 years' service.

The 59-year-old told lawyer Colin Adamson, of Backhouse solicitors, that she had been treated poorly because of her age.

The pair, who claim they were told of their redundancy over the telephone, are due to take their cases before separate employment tribunals in Bury St Edmunds next year. They claim a third person is considering similar action.

Mrs Stradling, who joined Anglia TV as a freelancer in 1992 before taking a permanent part-time position six years later, said her dismissal left her devastated.

Mrs Stradling, who lives near Braintree, in Essex, with her husband and two children, added: “I found it incredibly stressful. I haven't managed to secure another job and I don't think I will ever work in broadcasting again.”

Ms Atherstone, from Felixstowe, claims she has suffered “health implications” since leaving her job, which saw her become a popular face of regional TV.

“I felt wretched,” she said. “It is very difficult to accept it and has had a ripple effect on my family. What was very touching was the amount of viewers who came up to me and said how sorry they were.”

A spokesman for ITV said the company was unable to comment on ongoing legal matters.

Are you taking legal action against an employer? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk