Viglen’s chief executive Bordan Tkachuk has spoken of his relief that the tribunal case with former Apprentice winner Stella English is finally over.
Earlier today a judge rejected English’s claim for constructive dismissal and said it should never have been brought in the first place.
The series 10 winner had claimed that her £100,000 Viglen job was "a sham" and that Tkachuk told her there was no role for her on her first day.
Speaking exclusively to CRN, Tkachuk said: “The big message here is that all too often people can bring cases to tribunal because it is of no cost to them – only to the employer to defend. This is an important ruling because as an organisation we have stood up to someone who made accusations and took us to tribunal.
“Essentially a myriad of claims had been made and we have been totally vindicated.”
He added: “The Apprentice show itself was disconnected from the employment and in this case the lines were more blurred than usual. The conditions under which [English] won and the actual prize were clearly marked as to what it entailed. She should have been aware of this when she entered for the role. But the mind of the beholder is often different.
“Lord Sugar knew that we were right and did not do anything wrong. Perhaps a lesser company would let it go quietly, but we had to fight this.”
Tkachuk said the concern was that too many people were "jumping on the bandwagon" of tribunals. “It is an easy route to follow, and not too much retribution on behalf of the person who takes it to court. I’m sure there are many cases that are very valid, but this one was found in our favour and the tribunal saw through the myriad of claims that were proved to be unsubstantiated.”
He said he hoped more firms would take heart from the ruling and fight tribunal claims that they felt were unfair.
Tkachuk added the ruling was also important to clear Viglen’s name in the eyes of existing and potential new employees.
“It was a nightmare in several ways because it went on for a number of months and there were certain things we could not say in public," he said. "When someone throws mud at you, sometimes it can stick unfairly. We had to defend this case and prove that we were right. Obviously because of the high profile due to the Apprentice show, this case gained a lot more publicity.
“It was tough on the company as a whole and on our employees, who unlike senior management must have wondered if there was any truth behind what was said. The big message is that Alan [Sugar] had the courage to stand up to this.
“In reality, business is a tough world. I had 300 other people working for me, all with responsibilities such as mortgages and families to feed. In every business there are decisions being made every day that some employees may not like. But that is the nature of business.”
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