Judge orders Quilliam to pay ex employee £20K over unpaid wages and unfair dismissal

Maajid Nawaz’s Quilliam Foundation has been ordered by a judge to pay one of its ex employees more than £20,000 after it failed to pay her wages and unfairly dismissed her.

In a judgement published by the Central London Employment Tribunal yesterday, Judge E Burns awarded Mrs MA Khan £20,047.72 after she made a claim for unpaid wages, notice pay, holiday pay, a redundancy payment and unfair dismissal.

5Pillars understands the claimant is 26 year old Muna Adil Khan who was employed as a media strategist and a researcher by Quilliam from 2017-19.

Khan, who was paid £29,000 a year, was one of the authors of a controversial Quilliam report on Asian grooming gangs which was widely criticised within the Muslim community.

Judge E Burns made the judgement without a hearing after Quilliam failed to contest the claim. The judge also noted that Quilliam gave Mrs Khan less holiday allowance than she was due under Working Time Regulations – she was allocated 25 days rather than the statutory 28 days.

The judgement said: “On 28 March 2019, the respondent (Quilliam) informed the claimant that it was unable to pay her as it had run out of funds. The claimant continued to work, but was not paid. She did not take any holiday between 1 January 2019 and the end of her employment.

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“The claimant wrote to the respondent and asked to be made redundant in August. The respondent did not reply. The respondent locked the claimant out of her work email on 9 September 2019.”

Judge E Burns concluded: “I find that the respondent’s act of locking the claimant out of her email amounted to a dismissal. I am satisfied that the respondent had a fair reason for dismissal, namely redundancy. However, it failed to follow any procedure and therefore the claimant’s dismissal is procedurally unfair. The claimant has not found employment following her unfair dismissal.

“In my judgment, had the respondent followed a fair procedure, the claimant would have been dismissed fairly for redundancy within a month of the 9 September 2019.”

Countering extremism?

Since its foundation the Quilliam Foundation has been widely criticised by Muslim organisations for putting the emphasis on extremism within the Muslim community.

On the other hand, Quilliam describes itself as the world’s first counter-extremism organisation which challenges extremism to foster a shared sense of belonging and to advance liberal democratic values.

In its last public accounts for the year ending March 2018 Quilliam’s turnover was £482,475.

In the accounts Maajid Nawaz said Quilliam’s work was adversely affected by the decision of the Southern Poverty Law Center in the United States to list him as an “anti-Muslim extremist.” But in June 2018 the civil rights organisation apologised to Nawaz and paid him and Quilliam $3.3m.

Nawaz went onto say in the accounts that Quilliam’s work was “back on track” and that the organisation had secured some large contracts.

During her time at Quilliam, Muna Adil Khan was a Project Manager for a social media campaign titled “AMATE: American Muslims Against Terrorism & Extremism” run in partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

She co-authored a research essay titled “Mainstreaming Islamism” commissioned by the UK government’s Commission for Countering Extremism.

And she authored three major reports: Group-Based Child Sexual Exploitation – Dissecting Grooming Gangs (December 2017); The Rise of Religious Nationalism, Intolerance and Persecution in Burma (April 2018); and FGM Legislation in Britain: “A National Scandal.”

The report on grooming gangs was particularly controversial. It found that 84% of child sexual exploitation offenders who operate in gangs or groups are “Asian” – in sharp contrast to only 7% Asians in the total UK population.

An academic at University College London subsequently said that the public shouldn’t trust the Quilliam Foundation report.

In a series of tweets Dr Ella Cockbain, a lecturer in Security and Crime Science, said that it is true that some Asian men have committed horrific sexual offences against children, but that it was time to call Quilliam to account for “shoddy research” and “dubious claims of conclusively irrefutable” overrepresentation of Asian offenders.

Cockbain said that from start to finish the report was a case study in “bad science” which was presented as “academic” and “evidence-based” but which exaggerated its credibility and gave readers false confidence.

5Pillars contacted Quilliam for further comment on Muna Adil Khan’s court case but did not receive a reply.

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