Labour Disputes and Court : UAE

In a labour dispute, the employer and the employee are protected by law in the United Arab Emirates. Following a few simple steps, either party can file a labour complaint with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE). If a peaceful resolution is not feasible, the complaints will be looked at, resolved, or referred to the judiciary.

The following laws provide for labour complaints in the UAE

  1. Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Labour Relations in the Private Sector
  2. Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 on the Implementation of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 Regarding the Regulation of Labour Relations and
  3. Ministerial Resolution No. 47 of 2022 on the Settlement of Labor Disputes and Complaints Procedures.

Reasons for filing a Labour Complaint

  1.  You are not getting paid your salary. As basic as it may sound there are all too many cases like that.
  2. You are being terminated and you don’t know why you are being terminated. Perhaps you don’t want to be terminated, and more importantly, you want to be getting paid for being terminated and you perhaps believe that your termination entitlement should be much higher than what you are being offered.
  3. You want to move on, for example, to different employment, and your company is not canceling your visa.
  4. You are working for a company, and you are providing services, but your visa has expired, ad they are not renewing your visa.
  5. Or, for example, you were terminated arbitrarily, and as a matter of principle, you want to prove the company wrong that you were not terminated for a valid reason. There are so many more reasons why people file cases, but ultimately, at the end of the day, it all comes down to money.

Statute of Limitation

The statute of limitation is the period during which you can file an employment case. The legal time limit for filing a case and pursuing it is just one year. If the employees want to file a case against their employers, they must do it within one year. After a year is passed, their case will not be filed and they will ultimately be left empty-handed.

Process of Labour Complaint

Before you initiate a lawsuit in any court in the UAE, except for the DIFC jurisdiction, you must first submit a request or a claim to the specific licensing authority that supervises or governs the business where you previously worked. It will be that specific free zone, for instance, if it is in the free zone. If it falls under the Department of Economic Development or the mainland, it will fall under the Labor Department, formerly known as the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation.

One of those authorities must receive your request first. You then file a complaint with them, and they will set up a mutually agreeable resolution based on the complaint. It is a phase that must be completed, but it is not mandatory because the mediation authority cannot compel parties to reach a settlement, meditate, or even attend. Although it is a necessary stage in the process, neither side is required to attend.

The settlement will ultimately be regarded to have failed if the parties don’t make an appearance. Then, you must ask for a NOC, a no-objection certificate, or a transfer letter from the relevant authorities or the Ministry of Labor to appear in court. After receiving that transfer notification, you can only think about bringing a lawsuit. Importantly, suppose you are from a free zone, and your transfer letter is from a free zone. In that case, you must convert the transfer letter or the NOC into a format appropriate for the Dubai courts or submit it through the Ministry of Labor before filing a formal court case.

Court Fees

The Labour Court is divided into 2 separate circuits, namely –

  • The Minor Circuit – for all claims up to the value of AED 100,000. Claims before the minor circuit are presided over by a single Judge; and
  • The Major Circuit – for all claims in excess of AED 100,000. Claims brought before the major circuit are presided over by a panel of three Judges.

The Court of First Instance filing fee for claims raised before both circuits is 5% of the total sum claimed to a maximum of AED 40,000. In the event of an appeal before the Court of Appeal, the court fee payable is 50% of the court fee charged before the Court of First Instance to a maximum of AED 20,000. Should a final appeal be issued before the Court of Cassation a flat court fee of AED 2,000 is payable.

Everyone is aware of how intricate labor and employment laws are. For this reason, Marwa Al Reyami Lawyers and Legal Consultants are offering assistance to both employers and employees in employment-related issues. They hire UAE labor law advisers that are authorities in their industries, which makes things simpler for both employees and employers.