Rights of an Employee in the Case of an Unfair Termination in the UAE


It goes without saying that getting terminated from a job can be very upsetting. However, if there’s no justifiable reason presented for the termination, it can make the situation even more distressing even if the employee is paid their remuneration before termination. Fortunately, UAE labour law has termination clauses that provide such employees certain rights they can exercise in the case of an unfair eviction from the job. Before shedding light on these laws, let’s have a look at what is an unfair eviction, also known as arbitrary dismissal.

What is an Unfair Termination?

According to the UAE Labour Law, an arbitrary dismissal takes place when an employee is terminated from their position without any reasonable reason. Arbitrary or unfair dismissal, according to the UAE Labour Law, takes place when an employer terminates an employee or forces him to resign without any justifiable reasons, such as non-work related. In the case when an employee is terminated as an aftermath of filing a complaint against their employer, it also comes under an unfair dismissal. If an employer wants to fire an employee, they need to present a justified reason and give them a notice period. Only after the completion of the notice period can the employee be asked to leave the job. Having said that, there are certain situations under which Article 120 of the UAE labour law allows employers to dismiss an employee without any notice. These include:

  • The employee had submitted false documents.
  • The employee has assumed a false identity.
  • The employee is on a probation period.
  • The employee has committed an error that has led to colossal material losses. In this case, the Labour Department must be notified of the said incident (mistake) in no longer than 48 hours.
  • The employee has violated the safety instructions at work. An immediate termination only comes into the picture if the safety instructions are posted in a main location at the workplace.
  • The employee fails to perform their duties as specified in the employment contract. In this case, the employee should be given a written warning before terminating them.
  • The employee has divulged company secrets knowingly.
  • The employee has been drinking or under the influence of prohibited drugs during work hours.
  • The employee has been convicted by the court.
  • The employee has assaulted a co-worker, employer or any other colleague during work hours.
  • The employee has been absent from work without any valid cause for over 7 consecutive days or 20 non-consecutive days.

Rights of an Employee in Case of an Arbitrary Dismissal

The first step to take if an employee feels they have been dismissed without any justified reason is to register a complaint with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. The responsibility of this ministry is to resolve the problem in an amicable manner. In the case there’s no possibility of an amicable settlement, the case is referred to the court. UAE Labour Law Article 123 states that in the event of an arbitrary dismissal being proven valid, the employee reserves the right to demand compensation. And the employer will have to adhere to this demand. The value of compensation depends on numerous factors. Most commonly, the court takes these factors into account while assessing the value of compensation:

  • The duration of the employment
  • The nature of work
  • The damage employee has suffered due to unfair termination

It is important to note that the compensation amount cannot be more than the employee’s salary of three months. Also, the compensation is calculated on the basis of the employee’s last received salary.

Examples of Unfair Termination

For a better understanding, take a look at a few examples of unfair termination:

  • An employer may force an employee to submit their resignation on the pretext of poor performance or property damage. Even though it is a resignation from the employee, it falls under arbitrary dismissal.
  • If an employer demotes an employee or executes a forceful transfer without any particular reason, it is also considered an arbitrary dismissal.
  • In the case an employer directly terminates an employee citing poor performance as an issue, without serving them a warning beforehand, it can also be considered as an unfair termination.

A Final Word

If you are new to the UAE and want to avoid landing in any such circumstances, it is important to know about UAE labour law clauses related to employee termination. Also, it’s best to contact a reliable law firm, such as Davidson and Co Law Firm, for legal advice under such circumstances.

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