ABU DHABI // A new online service helps workers who have financial disputes with their employers to calculate how much they could win in a lawsuit.
Mustahaqati, Arabic for “my dues”, will also provide details about their rights as an employee and aims to reduce the number of disputes that reach the labour court.
“An average labourer who is not familiar with the local language will rarely have access to a credible source to explain to them proper legal procedures and if there is any point in filing a lawsuit,” said Yousef Al Housani, head of case management at Abu Dhabi Judicial Department.
Using a smartphone app or the department website, workers can enter details such as their basic and full salary, working hours, working days and years of service and then receive an estimate of the amount they would receive in a legal settlement.
Asma Al Suwaidi, a lawyer at the department, said all the estimates would be calculated to subtract the lawyers’ fees and administration costs.
“Labourers are usually not fully aware of their rights and that they get compensation for working on their days off, for instance. It is an educational method for workers who are a vital part of the country’s development,” she said.
It was also useful to employers because it would help them decide whether to resolve the issue with their workers directly or let a court decide, said Ms Al Suwaidi.
Mohammed Abu Seidan, head of the communications department, said: “If there is a problem between the worker and employer they should resolve it between themselves initially.”
He said there had been 271 registered labour court cases so far this year. There was an average of more then seven cases per working day last year.
Users can also file judicial requests through Mustahaqati, such as asking for a change of date for a hearing and case registration forms.
There are three staff members to respond to requests, and the department expects to hire more.
The service can also calculate the required legal fees for a case. So, for example, if the user wanted to file a lawsuit for Dh400,000, the expected fees would be Dh12,000.
“If the user appointed a lawyer he can confirm for himself if the amount the lawyer asked him to pay in fees is correct,” said Mr Al Housani.
It is available in three languages: Arabic, English and Urdu, and through Google Translate in 66 other common languages.
To help workers become familiar with the court system, the app provides a three-dimensional scan of the typical courtroom.
Users can view the room, and identify who sits where. For example, the chief justice of the court sits in the middle with a judge on each side, the court clerk sits in the right corner of the room and the public prosecutor in the left corner.
“So when the person attends the hearing he is aware of the system in the courtroom,” said Al Nahow Al Ameri, head of development, analysis and programming.
Mustahiqati went live on Monday on the department's website, adjd.gov.ae.