TWO former DJs have won an unfair dismissal case against a radio station's owners in a ruling their legal team says will have far-reaching implications for the industry.
Former Radio Clyde overnight show presenters Adrian Coll and Kevin Cameron - whose shows were broadcast throughout Scotland - won what was described as a groundbreaking case three years after their dismissal by the station's owners Bauer.
Loading article content
The company had contested Mr Coll and Mr Cameron's claims, saying they were freelance DJs.
Adrian Coll, 45, was told in November 2011 he would no longer be needed. Mr Cameron was dismissed at around the same time.
At a previous hearing, it was heard that George Bowie, Suzie McGuire and Mike Riddoch were the only Clyde DJs who were recognised employees, with the others being freelance presenters.
But Mr Coll told employment judge Chris Lucas that if he needed time off he could not arrange for cover but had to ask his boss.
The DJs' legal team said they were able to disprove Bauer's assertions they were freelancers with no employment rights.
Mr Coll had been a presenter at the Clydebank station for 17 years and Mr Cameron for 10 years.
The Glasgow employment tribunal ruled their dismissal was unfair as they should have been treated as employees. A date will be set for judgment on compensation.
The tribunal said there was "no meaningful or genuine consultation" and the process followed was "applicable to termination of a freelancer engagement".
The tribunal said: "It is not a fair dismissal if ... an employer dismisses without an assessment of performance, opportunity to improve being given and then a further evaluation of performance, all done in the appropriate manner so the employee knows what the expectations are, and with those expectations being reasonable and achievable."
The tribunal felt that, while the employers said the dismissals were felt necessary for a "freshen-up" of the DJ line-up, the real reason was concern over the decline in audience share of overnight shows.
The tribunal said it could see a stronger case for moving presenters from one time slot to another, or from one station to another, if it wanted to freshen up its offering.
The DJs' solicitor, Marie Macdonald of Miller Samuel said: "The decision may open the floodgates for other unfair dismissal claims from other presenters who have their contracts terminated or altered without their agreement.
"The majority of presenters working in the UK radio industry are treated as self-employed freelancers and, until this decision, were viewed by station owners as having no employment rights."
Bauer Media said it was considering an appeal.
A spokesman added: "Adrian Coll lost his age discrimination claim and both Coll and Kevin Cameron withdrew their claims for holiday pay. The tribunal held that Bauer had a fair reason for dismissal, namely the capability of these two presenters."