Apprentice #fails?

15 October 2014

It’s only episode one of this year’s series of Lord Sugar’s The Apprentice, and already we’ve spotted some serious issues surrounding HR and Employment Law!

Whilst we recognise that the TV programme is all about the entertainment factor, we couldn’t help but play spot the issue when we watched last night and met this year’s candidates.

An avid fan, our senior HR consultant Rosemarie McArdle switched from being glued to the screen to cringing behind a cushion as the contestants (and Lord Sugar) began their boasting. Here’s the Top 5 HR and Employment Law fails from Episode 1…

#1

“I’m an alpha male. I can make woman do what I want in the business world and some men”

In the first 30 seconds, candidate Daniel Lassman felt the need to assert his masculinity – unfortunately, statements like this in the workplace are almost definitely a breach of the Equality Act 2010 and could result in claims of sex discrimination.

#2

“My absolute worst nightmare is getting to 40 with a 50 grand salary and a 4 year old Toyota”

Proving to Lord Sugar that he’s driven is one thing, but making comments about age is another. Watch out Robert Goodwin – your apprentice competitors could be reporting you for Age Discrimination with comments like this.

#3

Leading the ladies team, Sarah Dales made no friends amongst her associates with a wrath of comments about women being the better sales team as they’re pretty to look at, and followed with even more Project Management ‘golden nuggets’ such as

“That’s important but bring some nice make up”

Not only lowering morale, but most certainly violation of Equal Opportunities polices and Sex Discrimination! Careful, Sarah!

#4

Chiles Cartwright most notable comment of the evening? His explanation of James Hill’s behaviour to a potential client during a pitch:

“He’s northern I do apologise, he’s a little confused. He’d sell his own grandmother”

Whilst there’s no legislation specific to the great North v South divide, watch out for this type of comment spiralling into something more as the candidate’s confidence grows, remember it is unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of race, which includes colour, nationality and ethnicity.

Further [Chiles’] comment and actions could be construed as bullying in the workplace and may have resulted in a grievance in a real business situation.! Perhaps Lord Sugar dodged a tribunal at a later date by choosing to fire Chiles in week 1?

#5

Finally, we’re thinking Lord Sugar could definitely do with some HR coaching on how he speaks about his possible recruits. Labelling Robert as an ‘arty farty sort of person’ may be in line with his gruff celebrity image, but it won’t do his credibility any favours if he’s ever taken to an employment tribunal!

Lord Sugar and Apprentice candidates – we’ll be watching for the rest of the series – and letting our clients and followers know what’s good, bad and downright wrong for business!

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