Fiona Bruce was facing disciplinary action last night, after allegedly breaking new 'ageism' rules. The 'Default Retirement Age' was phased out in April this year. But that didn't prevent Ms Bruce from interviewing a member of The Firm, known simply as 'Philip', purely based on his age.
"There were a number of blatant transgressions made in this interview. First of all, I would question the legitimacy of any interview based purely on a 'milestone' birthday", explained Neville Thwip, a representative of ACAS. "Secondly, Ms Bruce continually questioned our member on his retirement plans. This is specifically banned in the new legislation, as are suggestions that a member 'might want to wind down a bit'. She questioned him about his wife and kids, and even bought up the delicate subject of his citizenship. It's well known that the Queen approved his passport in person. We are seeking a claim for constructive dismissal".
Bruce also spoke to Philip about his mental and physical health, another taboo as far as the Employment Equality laws are concerned. Philip was clearly uncomfortable with the questions but once he'd remembered where he was, he put up a reasonably spirited defence. Citing past acheivements and innovations, he spoke at length about a project called 'The Duke of Edinburgh Award', but Bruce was quick to point out it was created 54 years ago.
"There is a lack of respect in this country for the aged, and that has to change", said Thwip. "Although Philip didn't help his cause by constantly saying 'I'm 90, you know'. We advise our members not to mention their age. Or marital status. Or sex, if they can help it".
Not everyone is in favour of the new rules. Prince Charles is a staunch opponent: "why won't people bloody retire when they reach a certain age?" he said, glancing sideways at a painting of his mother. "Organisations need to let in some fresh blood, someone in the prime of their...bugger".
The BBC released a statement accepting the criticisms: "The BBC takes the question of ageism very seriously, and we will discipline anyone who is found to be in breach of the new legislation. We have decided to terminate Ms Fiona Bruce's contract: she was over 40 anyway".
Crown-tip to DrTurmoil