UAE employers find new ways to discriminate against job-seekers


UAE employers find new ways to discriminate against job-seekers

The 'victimisation' point under the law helps protect the employee who has filed a claim for discrimination by the employer.

By Sarwat Nasir

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Published: Thu 20 Jun 2019, 9:49 AM

Last updated: Thu 20 Jun 2019, 12:01 PM

Employers are finding new to discriminate against job-seekers by listing 'specific language or a degree from a specific university and place only, lawyers have said.
The UAE has an Anti-Discrimination that was passed in 2015, which does not allow employers to refuse a position to job-seekers based on their nationality.
However, Ali Al Assaad, the Senior Associate at DWF, said that employers have "found a way around it".

"The laws are there but there are ways around it. So, instead of saying 'I don't need this nationality', you will put conditions that say 'a specific language was required'. They also put conditions where a degree from a specific university is required," Al Assaad said. "High end solicitors, for example, who have UK degrees - you chopped out a big percentage of nationalities who may not meet these requirements."
Also read: DIFC employees to get 50% of salary as basic
The DIFC also has a discrimination law and under their new Employment Law, they've had 'victimisation' and have new protected characteristics, including age, pregnancy and maternity.
Shiraz Sethi, the Regional Managing Partner and Head of Employment at DWF (Middle East) LLP, said: "Under the new law, you cannot discriminate against someone for their age, if they're pregnant or if they're on maternity leave."
The 'Victimisation' point under the law helps protect the employee who has filed a claim for discrimination by the employer. Previously, the employer could "retaliate" by terminating the employee for filing a claim, however, that employee now has more protection under the law.
Sethi said they have had several cases in their pro bono clinic where employees complained about discrimination at their workplace.
"I've seen a lot of different types of cases, nationality being one. It's people advertising 'no Filipinos', for example. We get that, unfortunately. It's very common, even in the DIFC, which I'm very surprised about given the fact that we're trying to develop an international sort of platform on an international basis for employees to join. If people were hearing that externally or kind of coming into jurisdiction I'd be concerned," he said.
Hiring underage children
Under the DIFC Employment Law, employers cannot hire people younger than 16 years of age. There is a dh10,000 fine if the law is broken.
Sethi said that some companies in DIFC were hiring youngsters as interns, which is illegal in that jurisdiction. In the mainland, children under the age of 15 are prohibited from employment.
He said: "The DFC stipulates that if you are going to take an intern on, they must be with an establishment, meaning a university, a school doing A-levels and they must be above the age of 16 and have be given permission from their establishment that they can get some work experience. Some people were employing them (underage children) to come in and do some work experience, which is illegal."

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