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The Apprentice – Series 12, Week Four – Taking Libertys – Nobody puts Karthik in a corner

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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, reorganisation and 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.

Taking Libertys – Nobody puts Karthik in a corner 

Week 4 sees the candidates heading to one of the UK’s most famous high-end stores – Liberty of London. They’re tasked with introducing a new product line and running a personal shopping service.

But first, a shock revelation from Aleksandra King who announced (at a really odd time) that she was leaving. Her timing was so weird that it stunned the others into seldom heard silence and she left with no ceremony whatsoever, not to be mentioned until the boardroom…Aleksandra who?

We start to see contrasts between the teams very quickly. Frances made an excellent call to her team’s personal shopping client: she found out her size, style, budget, what occasions she had coming up – boom. Alana, not so excellent a call – “urmm, so what urrm, are you kind of looking for, urrrmm” – fizzle.

Who knew Karthik had it in him to be such a fashionista!? Gone is the aggressive chauvinist. Karthik was charming, friendly and easily won over his customer. Despite Grainne’s lack of faith in Karthik he seemed to turn a corner this week and I didn’t spot any discriminatory comments or aggressive behaviour: I even felt a bit sorry for him when Grainne said she didn’t know where to put him and basically suggested she was trying to hide him away (what’s wrong with me?)!

Grainne trod a thin line in employment law terms – pigeon-holing an employee based on a few examples of previous dubious behaviour, assuming the worst and not giving them the opportunity to show they can do better. It’s a vicious circle as you want to protect your business from the potential damage an individual’s poor performance may cause, but without giving them the opportunity to do better you’ll end up stuck with them (not being useful to you) or facing some variety of unfair dismissal claim.

Even though Karthik was placed in the wrong role for his skills, Grainne still ultimately chose to put him in the firing line. My goodness, the drama, will she/won’t she – it doesn’t get much more tense than this Apprentice fans. Rebecca hot-footed it out of that boardroom quicker than Grainne could say handbags at dawn and change her mind, again.

Ultimately Mukai got the “You’re Fired” finger and I couldn’t disagree with that choice (he was really starting to annoy me). 

Next week the candidates are crowdfunding and as a warning to us all, the preview trailers look high on the cringe-factor.

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