Question: I work for an Abu Dhabi-based company. My job entails visiting multiple companies and interacting with suppliers. In some cases, I am offered gifts. Some executives take offence when I don’t accept them. Is taking such items legally wrong? Please note, the gifts have no bearing on my decisions and, in most cases, are small items like pens or diaries.
Response: Pursuant to your queries, it is assumed that you are employed by a mainland private company based Abu Dhabi. 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 employee may not receive any personal benefits from any individual or organisation during the course of employment. If an employee seeks or receive personal benefits from other individuals or organisations, the employer may conduct a written investigation on the same and terminate such employee without serving a notice. This is in accordance with Article 44(9) of the Employment Law, which states: "Any employer may dismiss an employee without notice, after a written investigation with him, and dismissal decision shall be in writing and reasoned, and given by the employer or his representative to the employee if the employee abuses his position with the aim to obtain personal gains and profits.”
Generally, it is customary in the UAE that organisations gift their clients, customers, employees, suppliers, well-wishers etc with pens, calendars, diaries, and other complimentary day to day stationery as season’s greetings (new year) or during Eid or other festivals. If the gifts are limited to such stationery items, it should not be a problem for you to receive gifts from your suppliers. However, it would be prudent on your part to obtain a written permission from your employer confirming that it has no objections for you to receive gifts (limited to stationery items) from the suppliers of the company.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.
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