'Tantamount to blackmail': Apprentice winner Stella English is the loser over dismissal claim

Lord Sugar vows to crusade against claim culture

Legal Affairs Correspondent

Lord Sugar accused Stella English of being a money grabber who had tried to blackmail him after the former winner of The Apprentice lost her constructive dismissal case against the multi-millionaire today.

In characteristic combative terms, Alan Sugar described the young businesswoman as a “chancer” who had underestimated her opposition.

Ms English, 34, took a case against the Labour peer after resigning from the £100,000-a-year job that she was awarded after winning series six of the BBC1 show in 2010. She claimed the job was a PR sham and she was treated like an "overpaid lackey".

But today, in a damning judgement, tribunal judge John Warren said that Ms English, instead of appreciating a job with enormous scope for advancement, had been more interested in a glamorous role, travelling in private jets.

"This was a claim which should never have been brought,” said Judge Warren.

Describing Ms English’s “outrageous claim” as "tantamount to blackmail", Lord Sugar said today: "She really isn't a nice person. She has done herself a complete disservice here. I don't know who will employ her now, but whoever does needs to take great care."

"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,” he added.

The millionaire businessman said he would now make it his personal crusade to take on claim culture and such “derisory” cases.

Ms English was given a role with Lord Sugar's IT division Viglen after winning The Apprentice but resigned in May 2011, complaining that she was simply an "overpaid lackey"', an accusation her former boss strongly denied.

The mother of two, from Whitstable, Kent, told East London Tribunal Service that she then felt pressured into taking up a new position at Lord Sugar's internet set-top box company YouView. He, however, said that he had simply helped her out as she had complained of being "desperate for money".

Ms English claimed to the tribunal that during an unscheduled meeting on 28 September 2011, Lord Sugar told her he would not be renewing her contract and she then resigned.

However, the peer insisted there was no long-term position available at YouView following the end of her 12-month contract and that she had already made it clear she did not want to work at Viglen.

In the judgement yesterday, Judge Warren said: “The tribunal believes that the reality was that the claimant had in her mind that having won The Apprentice the role would be much more glamorous and that she would be working alongside Lord Sugar as his assistant. In evidence the Claimant said she knew that previous winners had accompanied Lord Sugar in his private jet!!”

In the tribunal panel's view, it was made "abundantly clear" to Ms English that she would not be working directly under Lord Sugar.

"It was a real job with enormous scope for advancement and learning for the claimant who up until then had no experience at all of project management," the judge said of her post at Viglen, adding: "The respondent (Lord Sugar’s company) had gone out of their way to ensure the claimant was placed in a role at YouView from which she could learn new skills, a job which she agreed to and which she enjoyed doing and she acknowledged she liked the work." 

The judgement added: "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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Science Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum + SEN allowance: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are ...

MLD Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: MLD teachers required West Midlands...

Media Studies Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are recruiting for a M...

History Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are looking fo...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices