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The Apprentice – Week Seven – Boat Show

Each episode of The Apprentice will be scrutinised by Chloe Harrold, a senior employment lawyer with the progressive business services group, Outset, and she will pull out the HR blunders for your entertainment and education. Based in Maidstone TV Studios, watching out in case Lord Sugar lands on the helipad, Chloe has experience of advising employers and senior executives in all areas of employment law. She deals with contentious and non-contentious matters, including exit strategy, settlement agreements, discrimination, reorganisationand TUPE. Chloe is also a qualified New York lawyer who qualified as a UK solicitor in 2009 whilst specialising in employment law at a City firm. Having spent several years working in the City she joined Outset in 2016.

Two Men Overboard

So, it took 7 weeks but it’s finally happened – The Big K, K-Man, Karthik Nagesan was shown the door, and in a shock pre-final boardroom exit! He was hanging on by a mono-thread and it finally snapped. I was at the filming of the Apprentice “You’re Fired” after show last week for week 7’s episode. The pantomime audience gasp when Karthik was fired was hilariously fitting.

The excitement didn’t stop there as Lord Sugar went on to rip the losing team to shreds and also end Samuel’s journey – unfairly I thought. It was Karthik who put Samuel in the wrong role, and was it really Samuel’s fault that he didn’t push himself forward enough, either at first or halfway through the task when Grainne and Courtney were struggling? Lord Sugar obviously thought so, and so did Lady Brady, and Karthik. At the You’re Fired filming Karthik said he would have respected someone who pushed, argued back and challenged him. It seemed Karthik was suggesting Samuel just wasn’t hungry enough for it.

On the other hand, Lady Brady and Lord Sugar seemed to feel that Samuel had ignored management instructions one too many times and wasn’t a team player. It was an odd scenario, as they didn’t necessarily disagree with Samuel’s decision to sell the dry robe at the actual RRP. However, their suggestion was that, even though it was wrong, Samuel should have followed his PM’s pricing structure.

What if this happens in real life? An employee is given a management instruction which they refuse to follow, because they believe it to be wrong. Do they deserve dismissal? Possibly. If there are repeated examples then eventually such insubordination can lead to justifiable dismissal. Beware though – if an employee is being asked to do something which breaches regulatory, legal requirements or even company policy, then dismissing them for it is likely to be unfair. It could even lead to a whistleblowing claim.

Back in the (un)real Apprentice world, and I find myself cringing throughout, again. Just how embarrassing can the candidates get?! Karthik: “I can reach in and change my bra”/“I project managed my baby boy’s conception” (his examples are endless), Jessica: “We’ve sold 5 boards” (lies), Frances: “On the plus side it comes with a canape” (its ‘canopy’ Frances), Sofian lounging on the speedboat like he’s James Bond – the candidates stumbled from one faux pas to another. And then the ultimate thrashing for the Titans, losing the task by around £40,000.

Karthik’s performance as PM was the nail in his Apprentice Coffin, and whilst he tried his best to modify his behaviour following criticism in early weeks, he admitted on You’re Fired that this was an act. He did what he was told and tried to be less loud and offensive in order to get the job done. Off the show and back to being his own boss, his risque comments at the filming riled Lady Brady and the producers dropped the worst bits from the final You’re Fired cut. Karthik really is an HR disaster waiting to happen.

Samuel on the other hand was painted unfairly. It was a poor team performance but although Samuel sold the most it wasn’t enough to save him. It was suggested that he was given the opportunity to put himself forward to sell the jet-skis (and avoided it), however he seemed to disagree with that at the You’re Fired filming and I got the impression there was more to the story.

Now I’m unburdened of my inside Apprentice knowledge and back to not knowing who’s next for the chop I’m excited for next week – two exclusive events, two top London tourist locations, being organised by two Apprentice teams: bring it on.

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