Former Al Futtaim officer wins Dh35m for dismissal

Court of Appeals orders large settlement for employee who was wrongly dismissed by Majid Al Futtaim Group.

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DUBAI // A former senior officer at Majid Al Futtaim Group has been awarded more than Dh35 million for arbitrary dismissal - one of the largest payouts granted by a Dubai court in an employment case.

The judgment was handed down by the Court of Appeals after a lower court ruled against the claimant.

The former employee, who no longer lives in the UAE, sought compensation for arbitrary dismissal and other contractual entitlements.

"It's good to see the Court of Appeals be bold enough to hand down a decision like this to uphold contractual rights," said Clare Raven, a lawyer with Hadef & Partners who worked on the case.

Ms Raven said the "complex" case was initially filed in 2009 and took an unusually long time to move through the courts.

While "this is an incredibly large sum of money to be received anywhere and particularly so here", Ms Raven said, the claimant initially asked for a larger sum.

A spokesman for Majid Al Futtaim said the company would appeal against the decision after an official judgment was issued within the next few weeks.

"The Court of First Instance ruled against the claimant and we will now take the case to the higher court," the spokesman said.

"We believe our case is strong and we will vigorously defend the rights of the company. The appeal ruling is not final and is still subject to the ultimate review of the Court of Cassation."

Ms Raven said the Court of Cassation should only take up the appeal if the Court of Appeals had applied the law wrongly.

The court would not reconsider the facts of the case, she said, but it might refer the case back to the lower court for review.

Majid Al Futtaim Group's portfolio includes shopping centres, hotels and recreational services.

The company operates the Mall of the Emirates, Mirdif City Centre, Ski Dubai, the indoor family entertainment centre Magic Planet and Carrefour in the Middle East.