Business leader Lord Sugar has vowed to fight in the House of Lords against a ‘new wave of claim culture’ after seeing off a claim from a former winner of The Apprentice.
Stella English lost her claim for constructive dismissal after a tribunal rejected her argument that she was forced to resign from her role as project manager of Sugar’s company Viglen in 2011.
English had won the BBC show at the end of 2010 and was given a year’s contract on a salary of £100,000, but she claimed her job description was not clear and she was undermined by colleagues.
She resigned from the company after five months and, having been transferred to another of Sugar’s firms, subsequently resigned from that post too.
The employment tribunal said there was no evidence that Sugar or his senior managers had done anything to destroy or damage trust, giving English no entitlement to claim unfair constructive dismissal.
In a statement, Lord Sugar, a Labour peer, described the case as a ‘sham and total abuse of a tribunal system’ and he urged other companies to fight ‘derisory’ claims.
He said: ‘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.’
He added: ‘I have spoken about this subject in the House of Lords and will continue to campaign to put an end to this practice, which has developed in recent years and is seemingly spiraling out of control. This has to be stopped.’
Sugar, the founder of computer firm Amstrad, said that the case was brought on the presumption that he would settle out of court: ‘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.’