Passport Complaint

Question 1: I have worked in a factory firm since 2008 as a salesman. My contract is valid till December 2014. I did my best to develop this factory and the manager knows it too. Three months ago, due to family issues, I filed my resignation. My manager refused to let me resign and asked me to continue working. So I asked him for a one-month vacation. He refused and did not listen to any of my pleas. Now I need to go back to my home country as my father is not well. I showed my manager a medical report that proves my father is seriously ill. Additionally, I do not wish to stay with the company since I do not get any benefits and am treated badly. I am planning to complain to the Labour Ministry. I tried to settle the matter in a friendly manner, but he goes not listen to me and won’t give me my passport. What can I do to legally solve the matter? I do not want to lose six years of gratuity, and I want to avoid the one-year ban. I need to see my father and I need to rest.

Answer 1: I would like to advise the questioner not to do anything against the Labour Law, especially since the contract is for a limited period, so as to make sure the questioner gets the end-of-service gratuity. As for the questioner’s leave, the employer has the right to make the employee work during his annual leave if the circumstances require it, but if he has urgent and compelling circumstances, the employer must take it into account from a humanitarian point of view. Therefore, the questioner can file a complaint with the Ministry of Labour if an amicable solution cannot be reached with the manager

Absconder Notice

Question 2: I am an engineer and I worked in Dubai in a multinational construction company for over seven years. In 2013, they transferred me to Qatar without my consent. I refused to go as I had been employed to work in the UAE only. Later, I agreed to go there and worked for one year till the project ended. Then I came back to Dubai because I had been out of the UAE for almost six months. Even though the project ended, they asked me to go to Qatar again. I refused. Then the management agreed to let me go for a month’s vacation. After 15 days, they called me to report to the UAE and leave to Qatar again. I told them that if they wanted me to go Qatar, they should terminate my UAE contract, settle my dues and then sign a new one for Qatar. They did not agree to do so and imposed an absconding complaint against me. They did not pay me my dues for seven years of work. The company has done the same thing to senior employees who have served for ten years. Once the employee goes on vacation they send them a termination notice, and report them as absconding. The ministry is unaware if the person is really absconding or gone on vacation. How can I join a new company, since I am on an absconding list, and how can I cancel my initial visa legally?

Answer 2: The Ministry of Labour does not approve absconder notices filed by sponsors if the worker is on leave or outside the country. So, if the sponsor did file the complaint, the ministry considers such an action as violation and imposes a fine on them considering the said notice as malicious. The Ministry of Labour Undersecretary personally meets with complainants once every week directly in order to consider such matters, where he, in turn, penalises offenders if the offense can be proved. Therefore, if the questioner failed to provide the proof of the illegality of the false notice, he may ask the ministry to refer the case to the competent court for consideration, and then the said court will verify the matter and pass an appropriate judgment.

Thus, the questioner may provide the Ministry with a copy of the said judgment, in case it is in his favour, which will adjust his status and cancel the absconding ban accordingly.

Pregnant Criminal

Question 3: A lady asks: My friend is charged in a criminal case punishable by imprisonment. At present, she is being under investigation by prosecutors. The investigation is in the final stages, and the case may be forwarded to the Criminal Court next week, as told to her by the prosecutor. My friend is seven months pregnant. If she gets sentenced to jail, what will happen to her? Where will she deliver the baby, in prison or in the hospital?

Answer 3: I would like to advise the questioner’s friend that if the case has been forwarded to the court, she may apply to have the sentence delayed in case she is convicted, in accordance with the article 295 of the UAE’S Criminal Procedures Law which states: “If the convict who has been sentenced with imprisonment was pregnant, it is permitted to delay the execution [of the jail term], till she gives birth to her child, as well [after] three months”. The court may respond to such an application.

Ask the Law questions are replied by Advocate Mohammad Ebrahim Al Shaiba, of Al Shaiba Advocates and Legal Consultants.