Question: I have been fired from my job in a company in mainland Dubai. I plan to file a case against my employer for arbitrary dismissal. Could you explain the process? Will my end of service benefits be withheld as I fight the case? Can I take up a full-time job? If I am unable to find a job, will I be able to stay in the country as I fight my case?
Response: Pursuant to your queries, it is assumed that your employer has terminated you from employment upon serving the stipulated notice period. Therefore, the provisions of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations (the ‘Employment Law’), and those of Cabinet Resolution No.1 of 2022 on the Implementation of Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 Regarding the Regulation of Employment Relations (the ‘Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022’), are applicable.
In the UAE, an employer may terminate the employment contract by serving the notice period to the other party as stipulated in the contract. This is in accordance with Article 43(1) of the Employment Law. Further, if an employer terminates an employee without a valid reason, it may be considered arbitrary termination. In this case, the employer may have to compensate the employee with 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.
3. The provisions of paragraph (2) above shall not prejudice the right of the employee to the pay in lieu of notice and severance pay due to him under the provisions hereof."
Based on the aforementioned provision of law, you may contact the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (the ‘MOHRE’) and file a complaint against your employer. The MOHRE will then try to settle the dispute amicably. If there is no amicable settlement within 14 days, the MOHRE will refer the matter to the court.
Thereafter, once you receive the reference letter from the MOHRE to file a case at the court, you may have to open an employment case. This is in accordance with Article 54 of Employment Law and Article 31 of the Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022.
Further, once you file an employment case, you may have to wait until you obtain a judgement in your favour in the said case. Thereafter, you may have to file an execution in the court to receive your end of service benefits along with other dues, if any, as decided by the court. If you find new employment while your case is pending, you may request the approval of the court to cancel your existing work permit, and thereafter your UAE residency visa, in order to obtain a new one.
In the event you do not find any new employment opportunity while your case is pending, you may continue to reside in the UAE until your residency visa is valid to pursue the case.
Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: email@example.com or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.
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