Lord Alan Sugar has today successfully defended an employment tribunal claim of constructive unfair dismissal from a former winner of TV’s The Apprentice.

The Claimant, Stella English, who won the coveted £100,000 a year job with Lord Sugar in 2010, claimed she had no real role at the entrepreneur’s IT firm, Viglen. English launched a constructive unfair dismissal claim after parting company with the firm in 2011, claiming that her position was a “sham’ and that she was treated as an “overpaid lackey’.

However, the tribunal panel ruled unanimously in Lord Sugar’s favour in their judgement last week.

Commenting on the ruling on Twitter, Lord Sugar has said: “The Tribunal case brought by Stella English against me and my company has been dismissed. A victory for the law against the claim culture.”

This high profile case has brought employment claims into the spotlight and demonstrates that employers of all different sectors and sizes can become victim to spurious claims brought by employees and ex-employees.

When a claimant issues a claim in the employment tribunal, employers are generally forced to incur the time and cost to defend the case for many months up to and including a final hearing, unless the claimant is prepared to settle. Either way, the cost incurred by employers in the event of defending a claim is considerable.

This summer’s introduction of fees when claimant’s issue employment claims is hoped to further assist employers by acting as a deterrent to claims generally and particularly those that are ‘questionable’ in their merits.’

Should you require assistance with the defence of employment claims or advice on dealing with an unfair dismissal claim, please do not hesitate to contact us.

By Victoria Mitchell,
Employment Solicitor