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Labour MP’s aide was unfairly dismissed, tribunal rules

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A parliamentary aide and former partner of a Labour MP has won a claim against him for unfair dismissal with a tribunal also agreeing she was “isolated and marginalised” for a year before being sacked.Elaina Cohen won two claims that she made against her former boss Khalid Mahmood, the MP for Birmingham Perry Barr.

But she lost other claims including that her dismissal was related to race, religion or belief.Cohen had accused Mahmood of sacking her after she raised concerns with him under whistleblowing regulations about allegations of criminal behaviour by a fellow staffer.Mahmood maintained that Cohen was dismissed for breaking protocols of parliamentary office and sending him “derogatory” and “offensive” emails, one of which described him as a “first-class idiot”, which was forwarded to the Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer.In his letter dismissing Cohen he accused her of repeatedly disrespecting him, calling him names and copying in additional people to intimidate him.The tribunal heard, over a six-day hearing in May, that Cohen’s nickname for Mahmood in WhatsApp messages was “catfish”.This week the tribunal published its findings, agreeing that Cohen was unfairly dismissed.A claim of detriment because of a protected disclosure also succeeded because she was “marginalised and isolated” from January 2020 until her dismissal a year later.Cohen started to work in Mahmood’s MP office in 2003 and they were, in the early days, in a romantic relationship, which came to an end before the events which led to the dismissal.

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