How to file a case against misbehaving boss in UAE if HR won’t act
It may be noted that harassment of any individual in the UAE is a criminal offence.
I am an admin manager working for an engineering company. My boss often behaves inappropriately with me and forces me to stay back late at work. I am intimidated by his behaviour but not sure how to tackle it. My husband was made redundant recently and I cannot afford to lose my job as I am now the sole bread winner.
Recently, my boss invited me to attend a function outside the office and forced me stay back. When the party was over, he asked me to come home with him, which I refused. I have complained to my HR but they refuse to take action, saying the incident happened outside the workplace. How can I take action against my boss? What legal protection can I get to ensure that I don't lose my job?
We assume that you are employed in a company based in the mainland and, therefore, the applicable law is Federal Law No. (8) of 1980 regulating Employment Relations in the UAE (Employment Law).
Also read: No one has the right to insult you in UAE
It may be noted that the prohibition of women to work at night shall not apply in cases where the work pertains to administrative and technical posts. This is in accordance with Article 28 (b) of the Employment Law which states: "The prohibition of the employment of women at night shall not apply in the following cases: (b) work in responsible administrative and technical posts."
Since you hold the post of an admin manager, your boss may be allowed to ask you to stay back late at work, owing to the exception mentioned under Article 28 of the Employment Law.
At the outset, it may be noted that a boss should not harass his subordinates, as harassment of any individual in the UAE is a criminal offence. Article 359 of Federal Law No. 3 of 1987 in issuance of Penal Code of UAE (Penal Code) states: "Any person who obstructs a female in such a manner as to violate her prudence by word, deed, or by using information technology or any other means shall be punished by a jail term not exceeding one year and a fine not exceeding Dh10,000."
If you file a criminal complaint against your boss and your employer subsequently terminates your employment, the termination may be considered arbitrary. This is in accordance with Article 122 of the Employment Law, which states: "An employee's service shall be deemed to be arbitrarily terminated by his employer if the reason for termination is irrelevant to the work. More particularly, a termination shall be regarded as arbitrary if it is prompted by a formal complaint filed by the employee with the competent authorities or a legal action instituted against the employer that proved to be valid."
You may therefore approach the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) and file a complaint against your boss. Simultaneously, based on the aforementioned provision of the Penal Code, you may initiate a criminal complaint against your boss who behaved inappropriately. And if your employment is terminated after you lodge the criminal case, you may approach the MoHRE and file a complaint against your employer pertaining to arbitrary termination.
Know the law
Any person who obstructs a female in such a manner as to violate her prudence shall be punished by a jail term not exceeding one year and a fine not exceeding Dh10,000.
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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