New UAE labour law: Are job promotions completely up to my boss?

It should be noted that New Employment Law provides equality and non-discrimination of employees in the UAE, on various aspects.



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Ashish Mehta

Published: Sun 6 Feb 2022, 11:29 AM

Question. I work in a firm in mainland Dubai. Are promotions entirely up to an employer’s discretion? My colleague just got promoted, despite both of us starting at a similar time and achieving similar targets. I am happy for my colleague, but I feel I also deserve the raise he did. Is there a way I can raise a legal objection to this?

Response: Pursuant to your queries, as you are employed in the mainland of Dubai, the provisions of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations (the ‘New Employment Law’) are applicable.

It should be noted that New Employment Law provides equality and non-discrimination of employees in the UAE, on various aspects. This is in accordance with Article 4(1) of the New Employment Law, which states: “It shall be prohibited to discriminate against persons on the ground of race, color, sex religion, national origin, ethnic origin or disability, in such a way as to weaken equal opportunities or impair equal access to, or continuation of, or enjoyment of rights associated with, employment. An employer shall not discriminate in respect of works involving the same job duties."

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Based on the provision of aforesaid law, you may request your employer not to discriminate against you, as your performance is at par with your colleague who was promoted recently. However, generally, promotions and increments of employees are decided by the employers at their discretion. Your employer may have various criteria to promote an employee other than performance at work. In the event you are not satisfied with the decision of your employer, you may check with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation if your employer has violated the New Employment Law.


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