Legal View

K.K. Sarachandra Bose is a Partner/ Corporate, Commercial and Contract Lawyer at Dar Al Adalah Advocates and Legal Consultants. Readers may e-mail their questions to: or send them to (Legal View), Khaleej Times, Dubai P.O Box 11243.

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Published: Mon 27 Oct 2008, 10:49 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 7:38 PM

Ban on Working for Competitor if Contract Restricts It

Q. One of our employees resigned and joined our competitor 10 months ago. He is encouraging other employees to join his organisation for better salaries. This has created problems for me. Is there a way to take legal action against that employee in either the labour or civil court? Some of the workers, who have resigned, have been slapped with a six-month ban but are working on visit visas.

A. The UAE has an open market policy. The supply of labour and commodities is determined by market conditions if they are not restricted by particular pieces of legislation. In your case, it is not clear whether the contract signed by your former employee has a clause restricting him/her from working for a competitor for a specified period after resignation. As per the provisions of the Labour Law, ban for a maximum of two years may be imposed on an employee for working with a competitor and this should be regulated by an agreement between the employer and the employee.

In the absence of such an agreement, the employee is free to leave his employer and work for a competitor. In any case, the burden will be on you to prove that the employee had signed a contract with such a clause and is working with a competitor during the period when he/she is not supposed to do so.

In case you want to initiate legal action, you will have to first lodge a complaint with the Department of Labour in the emirate concerned. If the matter cannot be resolved at the Labour Department, then the department will refer the case to the court. If you approach the court without first referring to the Labour Department, the court may dismiss the case. The workers who have resigned and are facing a six-month ban are not entitled to work in the UAE. Working on visit visa is against the law and you may lodge a complaint against such workers at the Labour Department.

Q. I have just been transferred to Abu Dhabi from the UK. I would like to know the requirements for visa for my wife, son and stepdaughter or suggest someone who could help me. My stepdaughter is five, and has no contact with her biological father. He has signed a UK court document whereby he has given up contact rights over her. I understand that a letter will be required stating that he has no objection to my daughter coming to live in the UAE. Previously, there was a report stating he may have mental problems and he needs to take a psychological assessment. At what age would the authorities consider my stepdaughter could speak for herself? Besides, how would I obtain a visa for our son who is three?

A. I understand that you want to relocate your wife, son and stepdaughter together to the UAE. Firstly, you have to complete adoption formalities in your country, which gives you the right to become the father of your stepdaughter. Then the adoption documents have to be duly authenticated by the authorities concerned in the UK, and further authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the UAE. Once you complete all these procedures, you may apply for residence visas for your wife, son and stepdaughter along with copies of the adoption papers and other necessary documents.

Compiled by Ahmed Shaaban

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