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Four newspapers rapped by IPSO over inaccurate tribunal reports

Paul HoytreThe press watchdog has rapped four sister newspapers for wrongly reporting a disabled man’s racial discrimination claim against his employer had been rejected.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation upheld similar complaints made against the Birmingham Mail, Coventry Telegraph, Solihull News and Sunday Mercury, after the quarter reported on legal claims made by a former Jaguar Land Rover employee.

The articles reported Paul Hoyte, pictured above left, had brought legal claims against Jaguar Land Rover for unfair dismissal, on the grounds of race and disability discrimination and harassment because of his race.

The stories stated Mr Hoyte had won his claims for disability discrimination and harassment, and had been awarded nearly £20,000, but added claims for unfair dismissal and race discrimination were rejected, as well as his claim for costs.

Complaining under Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice, Mr Hoyte told IPSO the tribunal had accepted his claim of racial discrimination, and this represented the majority of the compensation he was awarded.

He added his employer had made an application for costs, which had been refused, not him, and was also concerned that the article did not make clear that the company’s internal procedures had been criticised by the tribunal judge.

The Trinity Mirror-owned papers said that the summary on the first page of the tribunal’s judgment stated that only claims for harassment on the grounds of disability discrimination had been upheld.

However the full judgment, which the papers had relied on at several points in the article, made clear that the complainant’s race discrimination claim had also been upheld.

The four newspapers also accepted that it had erroneously reported that the complainant had applied for costs, when in fact the application had been made by his employer.

They offered to publish corrections on both points, which was refused by Mr Hoyte.

IPSO found it was significantly inaccurate for the articles to report that his claim for race discrimination was not upheld, as this was the grounds on which the majority of the compensation was awarded.

Similarly, it was also significantly inaccurate to report that the complainant’s application for costs was refused, as this was an inaccurate report of the tribunal’s findings.

The complaints were upheld, and the full adjudications can be read here.