Question: My company is about to be taken over by another business. There are six employees who have been with the company for three to four years.
What will happen to our gratuity? Will we get it at the time of the takeover? Does the current company have to pay us or is the new one responsible?
We are worried that we are at risk of losing our gratuity payment – is that possible? RV, Sharjah
Answer: No employee should lose out in this situation. It is covered in Article 48 of the UAE labour law, under Continuity of Employment Contracts.
“The employment contracts in force shall remain valid in the event of a change in the establishment’s form or legal status,” it states.
Watch: New UAE labour laws come into effect
“The new employer shall be responsible for implementing the provisions of those contracts, in addition to executing the provisions of this decree-law, its implementing regulation and the resolutions issued for its implementation, as of the date of amending the establishment data at the competent authorities.”
A company that takes over an existing business should ensure that the purchase price takes into account any such liabilities that the company has accrued as of the date of acquisition.
In most cases, the contract of employment will remain in force and the relevant employee’s service will be considered continuous.
Any employee in this situation would be wise to ask for clarification in writing, although they are protected under UAE employment law.
Q: I have heard that defamation is a serious offence in the UAE, but what action can be taken?
I don’t know this person, but they made these comments as they had a different opinion in a discussion.
I was not rude in any way, but I shared an opinion that was not the same as theirs on a topic that relates to my work.
Their comments are upsetting and damaging to my professional reputation.
Is it possible to know what the law says so I can take action to get the comments deleted? JC, Dubai
A: JC is correct in that defamation is a crime in the UAE.
Defamation is the act of making false statements about a person that can result in damaging their reputation, dignity or honour.
It also refers to publishing false information to cause harm and it applies to verbal as well as written behaviour.
The UAE Penal Code has several sections that cover the issue of slander, libel and defamation.
There is regulation in the original federal law of 1987 and in various updates over the years, particularly in chapter six that is titled Crimes Perpetuated Against Reputation, Libel, Insult and Disclosure of Secret.
The provisions of federal decree 5 of 2012 UAE Cyber Crime Law also apply.
The legislation covers comments on all social media platforms, such as WhatsApp, as well as in print or made in person.
Under the UAE Penal Code, the publication of a defamatory statement is a criminal offence, which can lead to a fine of up to Dh200,000 ($54,458), and imprisonment of up to two years.
The punishments, as stated in the UAE Cyber Crime Law, are imprisonment of at least six months and/or a fine of between Dh150,000 and Dh500,000.
This applies to invading the privacy of a person in multiple ways, including
publishing personal information, photographs without permission, false claims and statements, unfair criticism and even, in some cases, correct information that they are not permitted to post or share for being intrusive.
It seems that many residents are unaware of the laws in the UAE and the potential consequences, so the first course of action should be to ask someone to remove all defamatory comments and content, with an explanation of local law.
If the perpetrator refuses to comply and the individual or company wishes to take action, they will need to register a complaint.
The reporting can be done at any police station, but both Dubai and Abu Dhabi Police have specific sections for reporting cybercrime.
Evidence of the complaint should only be passed to the police.
It should be noted that any complaint should be made promptly as a delay of three months can result in a case being rejected under the provisions of the Federal Criminal Procedure Law.
Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 30 years of experience. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org at www.financialuae.com
The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only