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NUJ statement on Russell Joslin inquest

8 July 2013

Following the outcome of the inquest into the death of journalist Russell Joslin (Friday 5 July), the NUJ believes that the way he was treated by his employer, the BBC, was a significant factor in his death.

During the inquest, it became clear that Russell told managers at BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire several times that he was being sexually harassed and bullied by a female colleague. Yet not once were his complaints taken seriously or investigated.

The incidents took place between 2005 and 2008 but matters came to a head when the woman he had complained about had herself made claims of sexual harassment in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

The NUJ has previously accused the BBC of turning a blind eye to bullying and harassment at the corporation.

The inquest heard that bullying was just one issue that led to Russell taking his own life. Russell was also extremely unhappy at work, feeling unable to cope with increased workloads and extra stress caused by low levels of staffing at his radio station. The consultant from the hospital that treated Russell told the inquest that work-related stress was at the centre of what caused his anxiety at that time.

The NUJ wants the BBC to limit extra workloads and take steps to reduce the stress levels of staff.

The union welcomes the BBC’s admission in today’s inquest that the support provided to Russell wasn’t good enough and that the corporation had let him down.

The NUJ will now be looking closely to see if proposed changes to BBC support services will bring about the improvements that are still badly needed.

Tags: , bbc, bullying, harassment, suicide, broadcasting