Emails reveal bullying allegations being investigated at the town’s BBC office
31st January 2019
THE BBC office in Tunbridge Wells has become mired in allegations of ‘bullying and harassment’ following leaked emails that suggest the broadcaster has hired corporate lawyers to investigate the claims.
According to emails leaked to the media last week, staff at the BBC met with leading employment law specialist Charlotte Hart from Hill Dickinson, to discuss the allegations.
In addition, a spokesman for the National Union for Journalists [NUJ], whose membership includes those in broadcast media, yesterday [Tuesday[ confirmed to the Times the union is aware of the situation.
The leaked emails suggest the investigation is related to incidents that occurred at the Tunbridge Wells office, based on Mount Pleasant Road, home to BBC South East and BBC Radio Kent.
An email dated 20 November, and sent out by the regional head of HR, stated: “You may be aware that a number of concerns have been raised in recent months, both informally and formally, relating to the culture within our teams based in Tunbridge Wells.
“To date these have been explored in the most appropriate way based on individual wishes.
“However, at the end of October, I was made aware of more concerns relating to bullying and harassment.
“We take such allegations seriously.”
It went on: “I appreciate that some individuals may feel fearful of coming forward and worry about potential repercussions but I would like to reassure you that we will ensure your concerns are handled with sensitivity and respect and that you will not be victimised for coming forward.”
A further email sent after Christmas, told staff that a report on the matter had now been completed, but it has yet to be made public.
It is not the first time the BBC office in Tunbridge Wells has been singled out for criticism on the issue of bullying.
In 2002 veteran BBC broadcaster Laurie Mayer resigned from his role at BBC South East, describing the organisation as a ‘terrifying’ place to work, adding: “I saw able, keen young staff reduced to nervous wrecks.”
Last night, the Times contacted the BBC about the allegations. They declined to comment.
An NUJ spokesman said: “I can confirm that the NUJ is aware of the investigation and once the findings are known we would be happy comment further.”