A month ago I was shopping in a mall along with a friend. When I was leaving a store, the alarm at the door went off. The store manager insisted on searching me personally and wouldn’t let me leave the shop. Despite my refusal, he searched me and my belongings. When he did not find anything, he apologised profusely and I left the shop. Is this behaviour legal? Since I was falsely accused of stealing, what legal recourse is available to me?

The store manager’s actions are against the law and he is not entitled to do a personal search unless after their consent or as per specific situations determined by law and the concerned authorities only. Therefore, the questioner may file a complaint before the Public Prosecution against the shop and the shop in-charge who searched the questioner. The Public Prosecution might refer the said person to the criminal court. Also the questioner may file a case before the civil court against the shop and the shop in-charge to claim compensation for moral damages incurred by the questioner due to such illegal action.

Performance report

I have worked as a teacher in a private school in Dubai for three years. I was on my annual leave which was supposed to be for one month. Two weeks into my holiday, I received an email from the school management saying my service has been terminated as per the annual performance report. The report shows my work performance is weak as per my school management. Does the school management have the right to terminate my service while I am on annual leave? In case the termination is valid, does it affect my annual leave payment? Do I have to file a labour complaint against the school? I am still here in Dubai. Do I have the right to request from the labour ministry to reinstate me in the service and cancel my service termination as I have a bank loan and have been terminated during my annual leave? Is the termination valid as I was notified while I was in my annual leave?

To answer the questions, I would like to advise the questioner that as per the UAE Labour Law the employer has no right to terminate the service of an employee while she is on an annual leave. It is an arbitrary dismissal. Therefore the questioner has the right to ask for compensation which equals to three months full salary along with the other end of service benefits. The questioner has no right to ask the labour ministry or the labour court to force the employer to reinstate her in the service. The questioner is advised to file a labour complaint immediately against the employer at the labour ministry. Finally, the termination is considered valid only after the annual leave period is over and does not affect the annual leave payment.

(Questions answered by advocate Mohammad Ebrahim Al Shaiba of Al Shaiba Advocates and Legal Consultants)