In the Emirates, the Ministry of Human Resources explains workers' rights following an unjust termination.
Dubai: What choices do workers have following an unjust termination while on probation?
This situation is under the purview of Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations and Federal Decree-Law No. 20 of 2023 Amending Certain Provisions of Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations.
When should a complaint be filed in cases of dismissal of an employee during the probationary period in the UAE?
In the United Arab Emirates, an employer has the right to terminate a probationary employee's employment by providing 14 days' notice.
Article 9(1) of the Employment Law stipulates that an employee may be employed on probation for a maximum of six months from the date of service initiation. During this time, the employer has the right to fire an employee by providing written notice to the worker fourteen days in advance.
The Employment Law, however, says nothing about a company firing a worker during their probationary period if they don't have a good reason.
When is the appropriate time to register a complaint in the UAE when an employee is fired while on probation?
Let's say a worker feels that their company terminated their probationary employment without justification. In that situation, an employee has the option to pass an order in their favor or submit a complaint with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MoHRE) in hopes of reaching a fair settlement with their employer.
Based on an employee's complaint against an employer, the MoHRE will make an effort to mediate a peaceful resolution between the two parties. If an employee's claim is for less than Dh50,000, the MoHRE will issue an order in the event that an amicable solution cannot be reached. One of the parties may file an employment action with the court that has jurisdiction over the United Arab Emirates if the MoHRE's order for claims under Dh50,000 does not satisfy both the employer and the employee. According to Federal Decree Law No. 20 of 2023, Article 1.
If an employee's employment was terminated arbitrarily while they were on probation, they may be entitled to compensation. The court may take into account the length of employment, the nature of the work, and any other pertinent factors when determining the appropriate amount of compensation if the employee has suffered harm as a result of the termination of their employment. This is in accordance with Employment Law Article 47, which says:
1. If an employee takes lawful action against their employer or lodges a significant complaint with the Ministry, their employer's firing will be deemed arbitrary.
2. If it is determined that the dismissal was arbitrary in accordance with paragraph (1) above, the employer is required to provide the employee with just compensation estimated by the appropriate court. The sort of job, the degree of harm the employee suffered, and the duration of his employment will all be taken into consideration when determining the amount of compensation. In any case, the total compensation cannot be greater than three months' worth of the employee's income as of his most recent pay period.
3. The provisions of paragraph (2) above shall not affect an employee's right to severance pay and pay in lieu of notice under the terms of this agreement.
If, while on probation, you believe your employer terminated your employment without cause or arbitrarily, you have the right to file a complaint with MoHRE in accordance with the aforementioned legal regulations. Nevertheless, since you are on probation, your chances of receiving compensation for arbitrary termination under Article 47(2) of the Employment Law may be limited. This is because the MoHRE (if your claims exceed Dh50,000) and/or a judge may decide to award you compensation if you bring an employment case before a court with the authority to hear your dispute with your employer.