Non-competition Clause

A questioner from Dubai asks: I worked with a company for more than two years. I recently submitted my resignation after getting a better job with a new company operating in Dubai. But the company, where I was working, requested me to sign non-competition clause in order to approve my resignation. Right now I’m going to work for a notice period but my manager told me that if I do not sign the non-competition clause letter my resignation is rejected and not to work for a notice period. I rejected to do so and filed a complaint before the Ministry of Labour. The said complaint is currently at the ministry and I am awaiting the employer to appear before the Ministry of Labour to solve this matter. My question here is whether the company has the right to reject my resignation and to oblige me to sign the non-competition clause, as this clause is applied to all employees in this company but not provided in my labour contract. As per the labour law, do I have the right to claim for my two-month notice period as per my labour contract because my employer did not allow me to work for a notice period? Please advise.

Answer: I would like to clarify to the questioner that he is not obliged to sign any agreement related to non-competition, as this clause is not included in the employment contract of the questioner. The company is not entitled to insist on such request, as the questioner is presently considered resigned and the resignation does not require the approval of the employer as per the UAE Labour Law as the questioner relationship has ended once he completed the notice period. Therefore, the questioner shall insist on his request before the Ministry of Labour to obtain his labour rights without signing such clause. If the questioner failed to reach amicable solution with the employer, he shall request the ministry to refer the case to the competent court. Finally the employee has no right to claim for notice period compensation in case he submitted his resignation unless the employer asks him to work for the said period.


— Questions answered by advocate Mohammad Ebrahim Al Shaiba of Al Shaiba Advocates and Legal Consultants.

(Compiled by Bassam Za’za’, Legal and Court Correspondent)