‘Can I claim compensation for unfair dismissal?’

Employees can claim up to up to three months’ salary if it is found that they were arbitrarily terminated

The compensation for arbitrary dismissal is up to three months’ salary. Getty
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My employer terminated me from service in August 2021. Despite repeated requests, they did not provide me with a list of reasons for termination in writing as per Articles 102 and 120 of the UAE Labour Law.

I was served a letter of termination, citing “administrative reasons”. The experience certificate issued to me was sub-standard and incomplete. My employer told me verbally that I had done something wrong and that’s why I was terminated.

Surely the company was in violation of the Labour Law by not offering me a chance to respond to the allegations? That means my termination was arbitrary and I believe I deserve three months’ salary as compensation.

I was paid my end-of-service gratuity, leave salary and pay for the notice period, but there was no extra compensation. Can I make a claim against the company? QI, Dubai

QI sent me copies of the termination letter and experience certificate. The termination letter is a little vague and I would have expected a better reason for dismissal, but the company has followed the law in all other respects.

QI is referring to clauses in the old Labour Law as his termination took place before the new Labour Law came into effect on Feburary 2, 2022. Article 102 refers to disciplinary rules and Article 120 cites reasons to terminate employment immediately, without notice, for wrongdoing of some kind.

If an employee was dismissed in accordance with Article 120, they would not have been paid for the notice period and their gratuity would have been forfeited. Given the payments made to QI, it is clear that his termination does not fall under Article 120 of the old Labour Law.

If QI did something wrong, and assuming the employer could have terminated him under Article 120, the company has behaved fairly by paying him in accordance with standard provisions under the law.

While the employer could have offered a clear reason for termination in writing, it did not act unfairly, and I don’t believe that QI has a case for arbitrary dismissal.

The compensation for arbitrary dismissal is up to three months’ salary and QI has already received a payment for a one-month notice period. He could claim up to two months’ salary if there was a valid case.

The labour court will also question why QI did not make a claim sooner as more than eight months have passed since the termination. Under UAE law, labour claims have a limitation period of one year.

When QI was issued the experience certificate, the old Labour Law, Federal Law No 8 of 1980, was in force.

The employer shall give the worker, upon the request thereof and at the end of his contract, a certificate of end-of-service gratis in which the date of commencement and termination of the employment, the total duration of employment, the type of work performed, the last paid wage and supplements, if any, shall be mentioned,” according to Article 125 of the old labour law.

The experience certificate issued to QI did not mention a salary, but that is the only detail missing. It is written in a way that does not harm his future job prospects.

I work for a local company and am leaving Dubai in June. I will have worked there for nine months in June.

The employer is now asking for me to repay my recruitment fees in cash. I believe this is illegal, but do not want to deal with a lawsuit days before I leave.

What are my legal options? TR, Dubai

TR is right that the employer is not permitted to pass on any fees or charges incurred while hiring an employee, whether for the visa, work permit or recruitment charges.

Such a clause will never be added in the official employment contract lodged with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) as it is not permitted.

This has always been the case. It was previously clarified in Ministerial Order 52 of 1989 and has now been included in the new Labour Law.

“The employer is prohibited from charging the worker for the fees and costs of recruitment and employment or collecting them from him, whether directly or indirectly,” according to Article 6, clause 4 of the Labour Law.

The company in question is subject to this law. I suggest that TR point this out to them in the hope that the person she is dealing with is not fully aware of this clause.

If the employer insists on trying to reclaim this cost, TR can register a case against them with MoHRE, who will back her claim. She can either telephone them on 80060, or use the online chat function on the website.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 25 years’ experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only

Updated: May 22, 2022, 5:00 AM