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Can I file an arbitrary dismissal case 14 months after I was dismissed?

Company fired employee wrongly, but he was unaware of UAE laws. Can he file a case 14 months after he was fired?

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Questioner from Dubai ask: It has been 14 months since I left my previous company. They terminated me without reason — poor performance as per my company's argument. It was my first job in the UAE. I worked for them for about 9 months on probation. For three months they made me work on visit visa. Two months ago, I got to know that it is against the labour law to keep an employee working for more than 6 months on probationary period and also working on a visit visa. As per the company paper, because I was on probation, they terminated me without notice. I was given termination and asked to leave the company on the same day, without notice or any additional salary or compensation. I want to know that after 14 months, can I claim my notice salary, my arbitrary dismissal and other dues legally as I was new that time and not aware of the UAE labour law. Will the Ministry of Labour or Dubai court consider that and accept my case? Please advise.

I would like to clarify to you that article no. 6 (amended) of the Federal Labour Law No. 8 of 1980 states the following: “Without prejudice to the rules provided for under this Law concerning collective labour disputes, if the employer, the worker or any beneficiary thereof disputes any of the rights provided for any of them under this Law, he shall file an application to the competent Labour Department, which shall summon both parties and take whatever action it deems necessary to settle the dispute amicably. If no such amicable settlement is reached, the said department shall, within two weeks from the date of application, refer the dispute to the competent court under a memorandum containing a summary of the dispute, the arguments of both parties, and the department’s comments. The court shall, within three days from date of receiving the application, fix a hearing date and notify the parties accordingly. The court may summon a representative of the Labour Department to explain the content of the memorandum submitted by it. In all cases, no claim for any of the rights provided for in this Law shall be heard if brought to court after the lapse of one year from the date of accrual, nor shall any claim be admitted if the procedures stated in this Article are not complied with”. Therefore, based on the above article, you may not claim for any of your labour rights after the lapse of one year.

Readers’ questions answered by Advocate Mohammad Ebrahim Al Shaiba of Al Shaiba Advocates and Legal Consultants