Dubai: Will I lose my job if I complain against my boss?
Know your rights when it comes to filing a complaint against workplace harassment.
Question: I am an executive secretary working in a private firm in Dubai. My boss makes me work more than the stipulated number of hours and does not pay any overtime dues. He also calls me in to work on the weekends. I never complained about this to the human resources department or raised any objections as I was just grateful that I have a job. But recently, he has started making lewd jokes and subtle sexual advances. How can I complain about my boss for sexual misconduct? I fear I will lose my job. Please advise.
Pursuant to your queries, it should be noted that indecent behaviour by an individual towards another is a crime in the UAE, in accordance with provisions of Federal Law No. (3) of 1987 related to issuance of the Penal Code (the Penal Code).
Whosoever commits an indecent act against a woman in the UAE may be sentenced to minimum six months of imprisonment. This is in accordance with Article 358 of the Penal Code, which states: “Whoever openly commits an indecent and disgraceful act shall be punished by detention for a period of at least six months.
“Whoever commits a disgraceful act with a girl or boy who has not completed fifteen years of age even if it is not committed openly, shall be punished by detention for at least a period of one year.”
Whosoever communicates with a woman indecently in a public place or any other place may face imprisonment for one year. This is in accordance with Article 359 of the Penal Code which states: “Shall be sentenced to detention for a maximum period of one year and/or to a fine not in excess of Dh10,000, whoever molests a female in an indecent way by words or acts in a public road or in a frequented place.”
Further, Article 361 of the Penal Code states: “Whoever publicly appeals, sings, or engages in lewd speech, and whoever seduces others publicly into debauchery in any manner whatsoever, shall be punished by detention for at most six months and by a fine not exceeding Dh5,000, or by either of these two penalties.”
Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, you may inform your manager and warn him that he should not make lewd jokes and communicate indirect sexual advances with you in future.
In the event your manager continues with such misconduct towards you, you may file a written complaint with your human resource department with relevant evidence (if any). You may seek an internal enquiry in relation to the sexual misconduct of your manager with you in the work place.
In the event your employer does not conduct an internal enquiry or caution your manager to stop the sexual misconduct, you may approach the police station in Dubai under whose jurisdiction your employer (company) is located and file a written complaint.
If the police officer in the police station is convinced with your complaint, it will be transferred to a Public Prosecutor in the police station and he may register your complaint against the manager and will call him as part of an investigation.
Later, should the Public Prosecutor find by your manager’s statements and your complaint that there is prima facie evidence of sexual misconduct, the case may be transferred to the criminal court of Dubai. Further, the court may conduct hearings of the case and may pass a judgement as per the aforementioned provisions of law, if he is found guilty.
Furthermore, in the event your employer terminates your employment for filing a sexual misconduct complaint against your manager, then it may be an arbitrary termination in accordance with Article 122 of the Federal Law No. (8) of 1980 Regulating Employment Relations in the UAE (the Employment Law).
In this event, you may be entitled to up to three months of additional salary as laid down in Article 123 of the Employment Law.
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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