Employment Tribunal throws out Apprentice winner’s dismissal claim

The Employment Tribunal has thrown out a constructive dismissal claim brought by The Apprentice 2010 winner Stella English against Alan Sugar’s company Amshold Group declaring it was “a claim which should never have been brought”.

The Apprentice

The tribunal concluded that there was no basis for English to instruct counsel, 39 Essex Street’s Philippa Jackson, as she had resigned from her position.

In a stern judgment handed down this morning, the tribunal panel of three, led by Judge John Warren, stated: “The tribunal considers that the claimant who had sought legal advice prior to putting in her ET1 was ill advised to bring a claim and/or to continue it.”

English, who won the BBC contest in 2010, launched a constructive dismissal claim in February last year against Sugar’s Amshold Group after parting company with it in December 2011.

She claimed the job with his Amshold Group subsidiary Viglen turned out to be a “sham” and said she was treated as an “overpaid lackey”.

The tribunal heard how English had first resigned her £100,000-a-year post with Viglen in May 2011 before resigning from a second post with YouView in December.

The court said it was “difficult to understand” why English had not informed Alan Sugar directly of her first resignation and when she finally told Sugar of her second resignation she also issued a press notice via publicist Max Clifford.

Parklane Plowden’s Seamus Sweeney, who was instructed for Amshold Group, told the tribunal during the hearing: “The claimant has, in the eyes of Lord Sugar, deliberately courted the media with a view of damaging his reputation.”

English had claimed that during a meeting with Sugar in September 2011 he had told her that she only worked for YouView for the integrity of The Apprentice and the BBC. She also claimed that Sugar had told her her contract would be terminated in December 2011.

The tribunal was emphatic in its rejection of the claim stating: “We have found that the conduct either did not occur or if it did occur did not amount to conduct which destroyed or seriously damaged trust and confidence.”

English’s solicitor on the case was Slater & Gordon senior solicitor Thalis Vlachos.