What should you do If you are wrongfully accused of sexual harassment at work?

The UAE Penal Code, the Federal Decree-Law No. 31 of 2021 on the Issuance of the Crimes and Penalties Law, is the law which regulates the criminal law in the UAE, along with the Criminal Procedure Code.

How is Sexual Harassment Defined?

Sexual harassment has been defined in the UAE Penal Code as “any persistent behaviour to cause annoyance to the victim by actions, words, or signs, against the decency done repeatedly so as to induce him to respond to his own sexual desires or the sexual desires of others”.

Under Article 413 of the UAE Penal Code, any person who commits a sexual harassment crime shall be punishable with a jail sentence for a period not less than one (1) year and fine not less than AED 10,000 or either one of these penalties.

The penalty shall be a jail sentence for a period not less than 2 years and a fine not less than AED 50,000 or either of these two penalties, in certain other situations. These include:

  • if the act is committed by multiple criminals, or
  • if the criminal is carrying a weapon, or
  • if the victim is a child under the age of eighteen (18) years, or
  • the criminal is one of the ascendants or unmarriageable kins “ Mahram” of the victim, or
  • those entrusted with the upbringing or care or having authority over the victim, or the victim’s servant or the servant of any of those previously mentioned.

What if You are Falsely Accused of Sexual Harassment?

False reporting is punishable under the UAE Penal Code. If you have been falsely accused of a crime, you may look at Articles 324 and 325 of the UAE Penal Code.

Under Article 324, Any person who reports to the judicial authority or administrative authorities, accidents or risks which do not exist at such time or contrary to the truth or who reports a crime knowing that it is not actually committed, shall be liable to a jail sentence for a period not exceeding six (6) months and a fine or either one of these two penalties.

Further, Article 325 states that any person who, with bad intent, makes a false report to the judicial authority or administrative authorities, accusing a person of committing a matter which requires criminal or administrative punishment, even if such matter has not resulted in instituting the criminal or disciplinary action, and any person who creates material evidence to accuse a person of committing a crime contrary to the truth or causes legal proceedings to be initiated against a person knowing that he is innocent, shall be liable to a jail sentence and a fine or either one of these two penalties.

Further, a jail sentence and a fine shall be imposed in two cases if the fabricated crime is a felony. If the false accusation results in a conviction with a felony punishment, the false accuser shall be sentenced to the same penalty imposed thereof.

Accordingly, for false reporting to be proved, there could be first complaint, the complaint could lead to potential punishment or a penalty, the complaint was raised to a judicial or administrative authority, it should be clear that the complaint was false and the victim has to show that the complainant knew that it was false and intended to harm the victim.

Accordingly, if you have been falsely accused of sexual harassment, you should file a complaint with the police. The police may take statements from the complainant, the accused, the witness and collect documents from the complainant.

How to Prove that the Complaint was False?

In an ideal world, the complainant in the first complaint might admit when he faces the charges that he made accusations in bad faith and he knew that the accusations were false.

Since the admission does not commonly happen and most of the criminals in such types of cases will maintain denial, regardless of what the charges being faced, leading to the second type of evidence which could be used to raise the criminal charge of false complaints. This is the statement of other people or witnesses against the complainant in the first complaint. Even if the witnesses were accused in any other case, their statement might still be considered as approved in criminal charges of false complaints.


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