Stella English, former winner of The Apprentice, has lost her claim of constructive dismissal against millionaire businessman Lord Sugar.
Stella, 34, sued the Labour peer after resigning from the £100,000-a-year job that was her prize for winning series six of the BBC One show in 2010, complaining that she was treated like an ‘overpaid lackey’.
The case was heard at East London Tribunal Service last month. In a written judgment today, the tribunal said: “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.”
On Twitter, Lord Sugar wrote: “The Tribunal case brought by Stella English against me and my company has been dismissed. A victory for the law against the claim culture.”
Stella was given a £100,000 role with Lord Sugar’s IT division Viglen as her prize, but resigned in May 2011 and complained that her role there was that of an ‘overpaid lackey’, something her former boss strongly denied. The mother of two, from Whitstable, Kent, said she then felt pressurised into taking up a new position at Lord Sugar’s internet set-top box company You View.
In a statement, Lord Sugar said the case was a ‘charade’ and he vowed to put an end to the so-called claim culture.
He said: “I am pleased that the tribunal has returned this verdict and feel vindicated in the judgment that myself, my companies, the BBC, the TV production company and my staff acted properly throughout Ms English’s employment.
“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. I have principles and I am not going to be forced to compromise them, no matter how much time and money they might cost me.
“This case was a sham and a total abuse of a tribunal system, which is there to protect employees who have been mistreated. It is not there to aid those chancing their arm at landing a big payday. I hope that other companies will learn from this example and also fight off derisory claims.”