UAE employment law: Can I be fired even if my work performance is good?

An employer may terminate the services of an employee without serving the stipulated notice period for several reasons

By Ashish Mehta

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Published: Sun 12 Jun 2022, 11:07 AM

Last updated: Sun 12 Jun 2022, 10:04 PM

Question: Under what circumstances can my Dubai-based company terminate my services? My performance has been good, and I have received excellent appraisals and even certificates of appreciation from the management. My company's financial standing is good as well. However, I am hearing that I could be among the employees the company will let go. Please advise.

Response: Pursuant to your queries, it is assumed that you are employed by a mainland company based in Dubai. Therefore, the provisions of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations (the 'Employment Law') are applicable.

In the UAE, an employer may terminate the services of an employee without serving the stipulated notice period if the latter has been subjected to a written investigation on the grounds as mentioned in Article 44 of the Employment Law.

These include misrepresentation, submission of false certificates or documents, causing material and financial loss to the employer, breach of safety measures in the workplace, breach of confidentiality, non-performance, drunkenness or drug use, committing immoral acts at the workplace, assaulting colleagues or employer, being absent from work for more than seven working days or 20 non-consecutive ones and abuse of position to obtain personal gains.

Further, an employer may terminate an employee with a valid reason by serving the notice period. This is in accordance with Article 43(1) of the Employment Law, which states: "Either party to an employment contract may terminate the contract for good cause, by giving the other a notice in writing. The employee shall perform his duties during the notice period agreed upon in the contract, provided that the notice period is not less than 30 days and not in excess of 90 days."

However, if any employer terminates an employee without a valid reason, it may be termed 'arbitrary'. In such cases, the employer may have to compensate the employee by paying up to three months of salary. This is in accordance with Article 47 of the Employment Law, which states: "1. A dismissal of an employee by his employer shall be arbitrary if the employee submits a serious complaint to the Ministry or files an action proven to be valid against the employer.

2. The employer shall pay the employee a fair compensation estimated by the competent court if it is found that the dismissal is arbitrary pursuant to paragraph (1) above.

The amount of compensation shall be determined based on the type of work, the extent of harm sustained by the employee and the length of his service. In any case, the amount of compensation shall not exceed three months' salary of the employee calculated based on the last salary received by him.

3. The provisions of paragraph (2) above shall not prejudice the right of an employee to the pay in lieu of notice and severance pay due to him under the provisions hereof."


Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, you may contact the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (the 'MOHRE') and file a complaint if you feel there are no valid grounds for your termination.

Based on your complaint, the MOHRE may hear both you and your employer and may try to resolve the matter amicably. If this fails, the MOHRE may refer the said matter to the court.

You may contact the MOHRE for further advice on this matter.

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