Former Apprentice winner loses case against Lord Sugar

Lord Sugar’s former Apprentice losing her constructive unfair dismissal case should serve as a stark warning to claimants of the burden of proof required to be successful in these types of claims, warns Forbes Solicitors.

Stella English, contestant of the BBC reality show The Apprentice, sued Lord Sugar after resigning from the £100,000 a year job that was her prize for winning in 2010.

Ms English complained that she had no real role at the IT firm Viglen, and was treated like an “overpaid lackey”, but didn’t say anything to Lord Sugar as she didn’t want to be a “troublemaker”.

Ms England resigned in May 2011 and told the tribunal that she then felt pressured to accept a position at another of Lord Sugar’s companies. She then claimed that during an unscheduled meeting in September 2011, Lord Sugar told her he would not be renewing her contract.

The tribunal determined that there was no dismissal of the claimant - Ms English had resigned. The complaint of unfair constructive dismissal was therefore dismissed.

Jonathan Holden, an employment solicitor at Forbes Employment Team, said: “I would urge employers to take a hard line in defending such claims – whilst settlement is often a sensible method of resolving claims, a robust approach must always be taken with spurious claims.” In response to the ruling, Lord Sugar released a statement expressing: “What has happened here is representative of a new wave of claim culture where some employees file spurious actions regardless of whose reputation it may smear in the process.”