Female BBC Manager Turns Down a Promotion Over 'Equal Pay' Complaints - There's Just One Problem

Brittany M. Hughes | May 22, 2019
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A female – wait, can we still say that? It’s pretty gendered, after all. But in this case, it’s describing a case of obvious anti-woman sexism so it should be OK, right? Are those the rules? I think so.

Starting over. 

A female manager over at BBC is being praised for turning down a promotion because she was offered less than her male coworker working in the same position – and now, she’s threatening to sue the network over gender discrimination.

From The Guardian:

BBC manager has publicly turned down a promotion after finding out she had been offered £12,000 less than a man doing the same job, threatening legal action against the broadcaster and suggesting the corporation is still struggling with equal pay.

And she’s making a real stink about it, too. The report adds Karen Martin “emailed hundreds of BBC staff to announce she would no longer be taking up her role as one of the two deputy editors in the BBC’s radio newsroom.”

“Despite being awarded the same job, on the same day, after the same board, during the same recruitment process, BBC News asked me to accept a considerably lower salary than my male counterpart. A lot less,” she wrote in her all-office email. “I’ve been assured our roles and responsibilities are the same. I’ve also been told my appointment was ‘very well deserved’. It’s just that I’m worth £12,000 less. Over the past four months I have asked BBC News to think again. And they’ve inched their offer up by addressing historical ‘under payments’. Now the gap is nearer to £7,000. But for me it has never been about the actual salary. It has been about equal pay.”

There’s just one problem: according to the company, the man Martin would have been making less than was a senior employee with more experience who’d already been working in that position for several years - a relevant tidbit that just might have something to do with his higher salary.

Gavin Allen, who oversees the network's daily radio and television news programs, sent a follow-up all-staff email explaining that “the BBC pays staff according to broad salary bands agreed with unions rather than setting specific salaries for individual jobs,” the Guardian reports.

“Roger has worked at or above this level for several years whereas Karen was offered this role as a promotion, with a significant pay increase.” Allen explained. “We think most people would understand that these factors would result in some difference between their individual pay.”

Martin’s account mirrors similar complaints from many left-wing politicians in the U.S. who claim that women on average still make about 80 cents for ever dollar earned by men. However, their claims of gender-based discrimination don’t account for factors like education level, experience, relevant skills or hours worked – factors that, as analysts have noted for years, seriously impact the so-called “gender wage gap.”