labour law


October 01, 2020



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I was fired before I even started work - what can I do?

The reader claims he lost time and money waiting for the company to provide a joining date

If you have signed a labour contract but have not joined work, can your company fire you? What are your rights in such a situation, especially if you spent months waiting for work to begin? This was the question raised by a Gulf News reader.

A Gulf News reader wanted to find out what his rights are in such a situation.

The reader said: "I was hired by a company, but due to the COVID-19 situation, my joining got delayed and they asked me to wait and assured me that my employment is still valid and active.

While the reader signed a contract, he was not able to join work.

" .. They processed my visa recently and I have only been waiting for the joining date from the company. They then suddenly told me that they will not be proceeding with my employment anymore...

Despite processing the reader's visa, the company later informed him that the employment would be terminated.

" .. I have waited for six months and I am really devastated because they destroyed my career and now I have a lot of debt because of this situation. I want to know if I can file a legal complaint against them for the compensation of my loss."

The reader wanted to know how he can raise a complaint.

Gulf News raised the query with Dr Hassan Elhais, legal consultant at Dubai-based Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants who said that any employee facing such a situation would first need to carefully review their labour contract and terms of employment to better understand what rights they had under the UAE Labour Law.

Your rights would depend on the terms of your employment, according to the UAE Labour Law.

He added: " It is important to consider various factors before initiating a labour lititgation agains the employer, namely: a) the type of contract, such as limited or unlimited; b) the joining date; c) the probation period and d) the notice period. Accordingly, you will arrive at your claim against the employer such as among others, pending salaries, compensation and end of service."

It is important to consider various factors before initiating a labour litigation against the employer.

He went on to clarify what would happen if an employee is terminated during probation period. "It is important to consider that if the employment contract provides for a probation period the employer may terminate the service of an employee who is still under probation without any notice or compensation as per Article 37 - Probation Period of the UAE Labour Law. The aforesaid provision further provides that the probation period may not exceed six months, " he said.

Read all about probation periods and what your rights are, in our detailed guide here:

"Furthermore, with regards to your concern pertaining to the termination of the employment contract, it is well established in the UAE Labour Law as under Article 113 that the termination of the employment...

Article 113 of the UAE Labour Law has provisions which need to be followed for the termination of a contract.

" ..should be pursuant to the following; a) mutual consent; or b) expiry of the term of contract; or c) termination due to valid reason in a non-arbitrary manner and complying with the contractual obligations, " he added.

The termination should comply with the contractual obligations as well as the UAE Labour Law.

Article 123/a of the UAE Labour Law provides that an employee under an unlimited contract my claim up to three months of compensation for arbitrary dismissal.

What is arbitrary dismissal? Read more here:

Also, Article 115 of the Labour Law provides that should the termination of a limited contract be done for a reason not related to the employee's performance the employee may claim compensation not exceeding the wage of three months' work, according to Dr. Elhais

What happens if your termination is not directly related to any poor performance?

However, it is important that the employee first file a complaint with the relevant labour department

You can call the MOHRE hotline on 800 60 to find out how you can register a complaint.

".. by the employer or the worker before the filing of the lawsuit is considered as public policy and therefore the Labour Court may dismiss the case if the due process of prior complaint to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) is not duly followed. Accordingly, once you have the aforesaid information about your claim - which you may get from your labour contract you may proceed with registering a complaint with the competent labour department and subsequently by registering a case with the Labour Court to claim your rights," Dr. Elhais said.

It is important to follow the due process for labour complaints.

To find out how you can file a complaint with MOHRE, follow the link to our detailed guide in the caption.

Want to know how you can file a labour complaint? Read our detailed guide here:

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