A Britain’s Got Talent contestant has recently lost a disability discrimination claim against Simon Cowell and others, including producer Fremantle Media. It may not have been the victory they would have liked.
Contestant Miss Czikai’s claims were that reasonable adjustments were not made for her disability (fibromyalgia) during the audition process, and that the broadcasting of her audition amounted to disability harassment.
Neither claim stood any reasonable chance of succeeding, according to the Employment Tribunal hearing her case, because there was no evidence of any requests for reasonable adjustments, or of harassment.
However, the Tribunal also found in favour of the show on the ground that Miss Czikai was not applying for employment. Although contestants may have been offered contracts with Simon Cowell’s company at the end of the show, that was not its purpose, and there was no obligation on the company to do so.
However, the same argument may not apply to shows such as The Apprentice, where the purpose of the competition is the offer of an employment contract. The legal basis on which this decision was made therefore raises the possibility that similar claims may be successful against similar shows in future.