Dad in landmark sex discrimination case against Edinburgh magazine

A NEW dad is suing Scotland’s leading political magazine claiming sex discrimination, the Evening News can reveal.

Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 5:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 6:37 pm
Mark Riding with son Lucas
Mark Riding with son Lucas

A NEW dad is suing Scotland’s leading political magazine claiming sex discrimination, the Evening News can reveal.

Father-of-one Mark Riding also alleges Holyrood Communications sacked him instead of letting him work reduced hours to care for his son.

The married 31-year-old from Tranent is to haul his former employers in front of an employment tribunal with a hearing scheduled for next week.

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"It would be inappropriate to comment at this stage but I look forward to putting my case at next week's tribunal,” said Mr Riding.

His claim is understood to relate to a request to work three days a week after his son, Lucas, was born in February last year.

Although the request was initially granted, he claims bosses backtracked despite three women in the same office worked reduced hours to bring up children.

After being told the role would be full-time, Mr Riding is understood to claim he was given just minutes to clear his desk after rejecting a statutory redundancy package.

Mr Riding worked nine years full-time as a £24,000-a-year data manager for the firm - marketing its successful events side of the business.

His case is thought to be one of the first of its kind nationally - after a single dad and ex-cop took senior officers to a tribunal last year.

Mark Blackie, 44, told a hearing in Glasgow changes to his shift pattern left him struggling to juggle work and childcare.

Papers lodged at the tribunal show Mr Riding claiming discrimination or victimisation on grounds of sex and unfair dismissal.

Mr Riding also claims he suffered less favourable treatment and dismissal as a result of being a part-time employee.

A hearing has been listed at Edinburgh’s employment tribunal court in Melville Street for next Friday morning.

Calton Road-based Holyrood Communications produce a fortnightly current affairs magazine and website, in addition to political-themed events.

The magazine targets itself at movers and shakers within the Scottish Government and local authorities, including MSPs and council bosses.

Latest accounts filed at Companies House reveal Holyrood Communications posted post-tax profits of £66,700 last year - down just over a third from £101,496 in 2017.

The firm is ultimately owned by London-based media giant Dods Group - its revenue topped £21 million last year.

The driving force behind Holyrood Communications is managing director and magazine editor Mandy Rhodes.

She trained on a local newspaper in Wester Hailes and completed her journalism training at Napier University before going on to forge a glittering career.

Her award-winning three decades in Scottish journalism have taken in newsprint as well as television and radio broadcasting.

One of the best connected political journalists in the country, her accolades have included PPA Magazine Editor of the Year, Feature Writer of the Year and Columnist of the Year.

She was previously social affairs correspondent at Scotland on Sunday where she broke a number of major child abuse stories.

Ms Rhodes declined to comment about Mr Riding’s case when approached by the Evening News yesterday.