Can employee claim compensation for arbitrary dismissal in UAE?
Dubai - An employee should be notified in writing for non-performance of work.
Question: I was employed on a limited duration employment contract by a free zone company in the UAE and was terminated shortly after I informed my employer that I am pregnant. The termination was on the grounds of poor performance and I was not served any warning notice (by letter or by email) prior to my termination. I had completed one year and three months of employment with my employer. I want to know if I am eligible for 3 months' salary compensation.
It is assumed that your employer is an entity registered in a free zone which is governed by Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 regulating Employment Relations in the United Arab Emirates (the 'Employment Law').
An employer may terminate the employee based on non-performance as per the conditions laid down in Article 102 of the Employment Law. However, an employee should be notified in writing for non-performance of work and he/she should be allowed to defend himself/herself. This is in accordance with Article 110 of the Employment Law, which states, "None of the penalties prescribed in Article 102 may be imposed on an employee until he has been notified in writing of the charge against him, his statements have been heard, he has been allowed to defend himself and the foregoing has been entered in a report placed in his personal file. The penalty shall be entered at the end of this report.
An employee shall be notified in writing of any penalties imposed on him, and of the nature and amount thereof, the reasons for their imposition, and the penalty to which he will be liable in the event of a repetition of the offence."
Further, if an employer terminates the services of an employee without assigning any reason of termination, the employee may claim compensation for arbitrary dismissal, which may be a maximum of three months of the remuneration last drawn by the employee. 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 regards to nature of the work, the amount of the 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."
Know the law
An employee should be notified in writing for non-performance of work and he/she should be allowed to defend himself/herself. If an employer terminates the services of an employee without assigning any reason, the employee may claim compensation for arbitrary dismissal, which may be a maximum of three months of the remuneration last drawn by the employee.
Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom, Singapore, 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