Paramedic’s predicament

DUBAI — Honesty is not always the best policy. Or so a Canadian national, David Grant Cain, recently employed as a paramedic by a prominent private hospital in Dubai, is beginning to believe — since the latter has allegedly refused to release his passport permitting him to return home and take up a much better-paying job in Calgary.

By Anand Sagar (Assistant Editor)

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Published: Thu 8 Feb 2007, 9:23 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:26 AM

Cain, who had joined the hospital on January 6 this year, on a basic salary of Dh9,000 plus overtime and other allowances was offered a Dh40,000 job towards the end of the month by a Canadian oil and gas company in response to his application in September last year.

He resigned the next day (January 31) with ‘sincere regret’.

His only fault, the distressed 36-year-old paramedic pointed out to Khaleej Times yesterday evening, was “I decided to disclose all the facts to my hospital CEO and Director Human Resources. I was even willing to pay back – as per the provisions of my local job contract – some expenses incurred by the hospital while recruiting me. And any other reasonable dues.”

However, he claimed, the hospital authorities have “retaliated” by refusing to accept his January 31 resignation and have also chosen to retain his passport “as a guarantee” until he clears all his dues. To make matters worse, he argued, they have also filed a complaint against him with the Department of Naturalisation and Residency (DNRD).

A “private and confidential” note issued to Cain by the hospital said: “you need to work the required (90-day) notice period in compliance with Article “Termination” of your exist0ing employment contract.” A hospital source told this newspaper yesterday that “we have no intention of retaining his passport as long as he is ready to clear all his dues. Also, his passport is with us because his employment visa needs to be cancelled before it can be returned to him.”

This unwarranted action, maintains Cain, amounts to “a clear case of harassment,” because he was under no obligation to give any prior notice to his employers during his three-month probation period. He added, “I could have retrieved my passport on some pretext and simply left the country. But that would have been both unethical and unprofessional.”

Cain has sought the assistance of the Canadian Consulate officials in Dubai in this connection and the latter are in touch with the hospital authorities to try and resolve the dispute amicably. He has also hired a local lawyer to represent him.

The Canadian Consulate has already received a reply from the DNRD confirming “the local law does not allow for a sponsor to keep the passport of a foreign national employee as a guarantee.”

The Consul, in a note sent to Cain on Monday, added: “the case has been referred to the Labour Office which recommends that any employee in this situation present themselves at Dubai Civil Courts to claim his/her passport.”

Meanwhile, DNRD officials have reportedly sent a formal notice to Cain asking him to be present for discussions this morning — in an effort to sort out the matter.

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