Annabel Karmel's new recipe for bosses

We need to know all about the staff we hire, says chef who fought sacking case

By Rosa Doherty, June 26, 2014
Annabel Karmel

Annabel Karmel

Celebrity chef Annabel Karmel wants all employers to have access to a record of litigants to protect them from hiring people who have sued other bosses.

She is campaigning for a central register to be set up after discovering her former sales director had taken action against two previous employers, before taking her to an employment tribunal.

Ms Karmel, 57, first became concerned about new employee Mark Salter, after his former boss contacted her to say "I feel morally obliged to warn you about him".

She then discovered he had left out details of the employer on his CV and she became concerned over his reliability as a staff member.

So she fired him four months into the job.

It was then that he demanded £50,000 in compensation and accused her of sexual harassment.

The case was due to go to an employment tribunal but was settled on the day when she agreed to pay him a £3,000 "nuisance fee".

In return, Mr Salter, 39, "unreservedly" retracted all the allegations.

But then, Mrs Karmel was contacted by someone who had investigated the case and was told that Mr Salter had previously brought claims against two former employers.

She said: "I was stunned. He was making a habit of it, going from job to job it seemed."

Ms Karmel is now lobbying the government to make it easier for employers to find out if their staff have sued others before.

She said: "Small businesses need to be able to protect themselves, because these false allegations can bring them to their knees.

"It signals alarm bells doesn't it?"

The cook was also shocked to learn that a publicist had been acting as Mr Salter's representative in the aftermath of the case.

She said: "We both signed a confidentiality agreement but he spoke to the media.

"They ran stories in which he said I had sexually harassed him, even though he retracted his allegations. I was humiliated."

She said she has since torn up the confidentiality agreement and has refused to pay the £3,000.

She added: "The allegations he made against me were simply untrue and could have damaged my reputation. I didn't want them in the press at all."

The mother of three added that her family had been turned upside down by the six-month ordeal.

"It has been an emotionally draining time. I'm a small business and I can't just stop.

"I've just released my new book Quick & Easy Weaning. It will hopefully change the way that mothers feed their babies and help to combat fussy eaters.

"All mothers want to give their baby the best and the right food. I know children and I know how to do that."

Last updated: 12:14pm, June 26 2014