Apprentice winner loses unfair dismissal claim

Posted: 12th April 2013

A winner of reality television show, ‘The Apprentice’, has had claims that she was unfairly constructively dismissed from the post she won within Lord Sugar’s group of companies dismissed. An employment tribunal ruled that Stella English’s case was without foundation and ‘should never have been brought’.Stella English

Miss English had claimed that Lord Sugar had made it clear to her in a meeting that the £100,000-a-year position to which she was appointed as a result of her win was ‘a sham’ and that he had only put her to work in one of his companies through public relations motives and to maintain the integrity of the BBC show.

It was submitted that her treatment by Lord Sugar and senior colleagues amounted cumulatively to a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence contained within her employment contract. She claimed, inter alia, that she was subjected to demeaning comments, not provided with suitable work, unjustifiably reprimanded in humiliating and degrading terms and shunned by colleagues.

Dismissing her claim, the tribunal rejected much of her account of the language and conduct complained of and noted that, following her resignation from one company within the group, Lord Sugar had arranged for her to work in another. Ruling that she had resigned and not been dismissed, unfairly or otherwise, the tribunal observed that her salary had continued to be paid notwithstanding that none of the companies within the group that employed her had benefited from her efforts.

The tribunal concluded: “We do not find that any of the conduct about which the claimant complains, either on its own or cumulatively, objectively viewed, was conduct which destroyed or seriously damaged trust and confidence, entitling the claimant to terminate her employment and to claim unfair constructive dismissal…this was a claim which should never have been brought.”