You’re Hired – Not
Former winner of The Apprentice loses case against Alan Sugar…
Stella English, the winner of BBC’s TV reality show The Apprentice, has lost her appeal against lord Sugar for constructive dismissal.
Ms. English, 34, who won the £100,000 placement at Lord Sugar’s tech company Viglen in the 2010 hit TV series, resigned from the post in May 2011. She said she had been given a desk and a phone but no actual duties and carried out basic administrative tasks because she did not want to appear to be seen to be "rocking the boat".
Bordan Tkachuk, CEO of Viglen and one of the hard-nosed interviewers on the later rounds of The Apprentice, was Ms. English’ direct boss and had apparenntly told her that "there is no job" and treated her "with contempt" from day one.
After her resognation from Viglen, Lord Sugar, on hearing that Ms. English had said she was "desperate for money", said he had tried to "help her out" and then offered Ms English a second new role at his set-top box company, YouView.
Ms. English accepted the new job but said that she had "felt pressurised" into accepting the work.
In his defence, Lord Sugar said that there was not a full-time position at YouView but that there might be the possibility of contractual work.
Stella English then took her case for constructive dismissal to a tribunal, complaining that she had been an "overpaid lackey".
Reputation in Tatters
In a witness statement read to the hearing, Lord Sugar had called Ms. English "untrusting" and "full of conspiracy theories". He even went on to call his former employee a "serial liar" alonside other terms such as "chancer" and "money-grabber".
One particularly damning statement from the Labour peer read:
"I believe this claim, together with its publication in the media, is simply an attempt to extract money from me."
Lord Sugar went on to say that, in hindsight, he would not have hired her at his Viglen IT company in the first place nor offered her another position at YouView.
Continuing, Lord Sugar’s witness statement read:
"There was never a case for us to answer but her need for money and fame meant that the whole system was subjected to this charade."
"I have been cleared of a derisory attempt to smear my name and extract money from me."
"The allegations were without substance, and I believe this case was brought with one intention in mind – the presumption that I would not attend the tribunal, that I would not testify and that I would settle out of court, sending Ms English on her way with a tidy settlement."
"I’m afraid she underestimated me and her reputation is now in tatters."
The case, which was heard at the East London Employment Tribunal Service, in March, delivered its verdict this morning. In a written judgement, the tribunal service stated:
"There was no dismissal of the claimant – the claimant resigned. Therefore the complaint of unfair constructive dismissal contrary to section 95 Employment Rights Act 1996 fails and is dismissed."
Lord Sugar has since been reported as expressing an interest in taking on the claim culture as a "personal crusade" and has warned that whoever might be thinking of taking on Stella English needs to "take great care".