Apprentice Winner Loses Tribunal

A former winner of TV show The Apprentice, has lost her claim of constructive dismissal against millionaire businessman Lord Alan Sugar.

Stella English, a mum of two from Whitstable, sued the Labour peer after resigning from the £100,000-a-year job that was her prize for winning series six of the BBC1 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 today: "The Tribunal case brought by Stella English against me and my company has been dismissed. A victory for the law against the claim culture.''

The Labour peer accused Ms English of attempting to "blackmail'' him when he gave evidence to the tribunal, saying he had no case to answer and that Ms English was after his money.

Ms English 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. She also claimed the job was "a sham'' and a "PR construct''.

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.  

Lord Sugar said he was trying to help her out as she had complained of being "desperate for money''.

Lord Sugar admitted it made him "very angry'' to have "derisory actions'' brought against him by Ms English, describing it as "tantamount to blackmail''.

He said while giving evidence:  "I'm here because I believe I have no case to answer and because I trust in the tribunal system and I'm here because I believe this is a classic abuse of the tribunal system.''

He accused his former apprentice of being a "serial liar'' during the tribunal and said that, with hindsight, he would have neither hired her nor offered her a second position when she initially resigned.

In a statement, Lord Sugar said the case brought by Ms English 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.