Former Channel 4 Racing pundit John McCririck has started legal proceedings against the broadcaster as he seeks damages totalling £3million following his axing from its racing coverage.
McCririck was one of a number of faces dropped from the presenting team after Channel 4 awarded the production contract to IMG Sports Media, ending its previous agreement with Highflyer. McCririck was vocal in his criticism when it was announced last October and has decided to pursue Channel 4 and IMG Sports Media through the courts.
In a statement to Press Association Sport, he said: "Channel 4 and production company IMG Sports Media were served a letter before action for age discrimination. After 29 years with Channel 4 Racing, on a rolling annual contract, I have been sacked without any consultation or cogent explanation."
It went on: "I am 72. For loss of future earnings, unfair career damaging, public humiliation, stress and mental anguish, I will be seeking £500,000. Ageism is illegal. For tens of thousands of employees it has become the feared scourge of our society. This litigation should prove to be a watershed.
"There's no upper limit to the amount of damages employment tribunals can award under the Equality Act 2010. I am seeking a further exemplary, punitive £2.5m, part of which will be donated to charitable organisations helping to prevent negative prejudice in the workplace."
McCririck said his solicitor had served papers on the executives he says are responsible for his sacking. He alleged they are Channel 4's chief executive David Abraham, the broadcaster's creative officer Jay Hunt, sports editor Jamie Aitchison and Carl Hicks, executive producer of IMG Sports Media.
The veteran presenter said: "Mr (Stephen) Beverley (solicitor) is insisting on full disclosure of all documents, phone records and emails up to the present day that led to, and followed, my dismissal. My legal team will also be calling past and present Channel 4 Racing presenters and production staff, media executives, journalists and others to be cross-examined in public by my QC.
"It won't be pleasant, the vitriol will hurt. Some is bound to stick and further threaten my future prospects. But that is the inevitable price when asserting what is right against entrenched powerful interests. I believe this landmark action will be a beacon to motivate numerous workers still productive as ever, but now living in dread of being unjustly axed."
McCririck said he would drop the legal action if he is "fully" reinstated, receives an apology and all his costs are met. IMG Sports Media assumed production control on January 1, with former BBC racing presenter Clare Balding and Racing UK anchorman Nick Luck heading up the new team.
A Channel 4 spokeswoman said: "We are grateful to John McCririck for his contribution towards the success of Channel 4 Racing over many years. However, we reject the suggestion that discrimination on the basis of age played any part in the decision not to renew his freelance contract and we will be vigorously defending this claim."
2 July 2015Magnificent seven for Elliott
Pendleton thrilled with first ride
Balding hoping for Park August run
Kirby unscathed in house fire
Pilot charters path to York
Provenance has claims on Sandown
Soapy out to slay Dragon rivals
Creighton discharged from hospital
Spencer rides Gatsby in Eclipse
Postulation checks in at Belmont
Space considered for Ascot return
Charming thoughts turn to Doncaster
Deauville date for Diamond
Mecca's takes Thirsk honours
Dods waits on Angel decision
Soumillon takes Certain ride
Mile on Spear radar
September aim for Tryster
Cup aim for Arab
Time out for Hannon aces
Close encounter excites Doyle
Island to drop in grade
1 July 2015Muir keeps faith with Baz
Lynam ponders dual July raid
Geraghty targets weekend return
Pendleton swaps saddles at Newbury
Latharnach given Goodwood aim
More Stewart woe for Lynam
Time makes all the right moves
Canadian dream for Odeliz
Ground to dictate plans for Ribbons
Walsh remembers 'heavyweight' Kauto
Queen possible for Godolphin debut
Intilaaq in line for return
McCoy salutes 'amazing' Kauto
Nicholls leads Kauto tributes
Star put down after paddock fall
30 June 2015Towcester chief facing BHA charges
Down Royal proud to have seen Kauto
Nicholls leads Kauto tributes
Sad end for super Star
Doyle keen on Beau chance
Pontefract firsts for Hannon
Horn long odds-on for Eclipse
Frustration continues for Tudhope
Globetrotting Glance retired
Package heads for retirement
Falmouth caution for Integral
Stars on Leger course
Chase set for drop in class
Vintage option for Sails
29 June 2015France for Force
Karpino King George plans on hold
Firecrown out for compensation
Prat possible for Estidhkaar
Lowther in Lady's sights
Bay bypasses Eclipse date
Beach life suits red-hot Heffernan
Forever foxes sprint rivals
Diamond sparkles in Pretty Polly
Treve too good at Saint-Cloud
Aquam impresses on debut
Pilot leaves rivals toiling
Kodi has Jean Prat option
Aeolus given French targets
Ervedya to face her elders