Legal View

Wrongfully terminated in UAE? Here is what employee can claim as compensation

Ashish Mehta
Filed on April 25, 2020 | Last updated on April 25, 2020 at 06.41 am
UAE law, termination, UAE jobs, job cuts, Dubai jobs, arbitrary dismissal, legal, Legal view

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Know the law in the UAE

Question: I was employed by a company that is based in the mainland of Dubai and my employer terminated my employment recently. My performance at my company was good and I received certificates for my job-related assignments. Does the employer have the right to terminate an employee who has excelled in his employment? Am I entitled to claim compensation for arbitrary dismissal by my employer?


As your employment was based in the mainland of Dubai, the provisions of Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 regulating Employment Relations in the UAE (the 'Employment Law') and the subsequent Ministerial Orders are applicable.

In the UAE, an employer may terminate an employee on various valid grounds including but not limited to disciplinary actions, poor performances, long term health issues and genuine economic challenges faced by the employer. However, if the employee feels that his termination is arbitrary and not based on one of the aforementioned reasons, he may approach the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiritisation (the 'Mohre') and  thereafter, the court which has jurisdiction to hear the matter if necessary. This is in accordance with Article 122 of the Employment Law, which states:

"An employee's service shall be deemed to have been arbitrarily terminated by his employer if the reason for the termination is irrelevant to the employer and more particularly, if the reason is that the employee has submitted a serious complaint to the competent authorities or has instituted legal proceedings against the employer that has proved to be valid."

If your employer can prove that they are compelled by economic challenges to cut costs, then the termination may not be considered as arbitrary dismissal. However, if your employer is unable to prove economic challenges for cost-cutting then the termination may be considered as arbitrary. The Employment Law is silent on cost-cutting as a ground for termination.

Further, if you believe that your termination is arbitrary then you may also claim compensation up to three months' salary for arbitrary dismissal from your employment. This is in accordance with Article 123 of the Employment Law, which states:

"a. Where an employee is arbitrarily dismissed, the competent court may order the employer to pay him compensation. The court shall assess such compensation with due regard to the nature of the work, the amount of prejudice he has sustained and his period of service, and after investigating the circumstances of the work. The amount of the compensation shall in no case exceed the employee's remuneration for three months calculated on the basis of the last remuneration he was entitled to.

b. The provisions of the preceding paragraph shall not prejudice the employee's right to the gratuity he is entitled to and the termination notice allowance provided for in this law."

You may approach your employer and request for compensation for arbitrary dismissal if you believe that your termination of employment was arbitrary in nature. If your employer does not agree with you and if he does not compensate you after your request for arbitrary termination, then you may approach the Mohre and file a complaint against your employer.

Know the law: Where an employee is arbitrarily dismissed, the competent court may order the employer to pay him compensation.

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: Readers may e-mail their questions to: or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.

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