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An employee has the right to file a complaint with the UAE Labour Department while he or she is still employed with the company. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Forced to go on unpaid leave

Question: I have been working in a private company for three years now. Four months ago, the company asked me to go on unpaid leave on the ground that the company was going through a financial problem. Two weeks ago, I returned to the company, asking them to either assign me a job or settle my dues and cancel my residency permit. However, the company has refused to do so. My question is: Do I have the legal rights to file a labour lawsuit against the company, knowing that I am currently not resigning? The company’s representative stated that I had no legal rights to file a labour lawsuit until I resigned or until the company terminated my services. Please advise.

Answer: You have the right to file a complaint with the UAE Labour Department while you are still working with the company. It is not necessary for you to resign or for the company to terminate you in order to be able to file the complaint. Moreover, filing such a complaint does not mean that the employment relationship has come to an end. While filing the complaint, you have to pay attention that there are some labour rights that cannot be requested for unless the employment relationship has ended, like the gratuity that the worker is entitled to at the end of the employment term. However, salary is not part of that.

The legal legislator has given the worker the right to file his or her complaint before the Labour Department. Article 122 of the UAE Labour Law states: ‘A worker’s services shall be deemed to be arbitrarily terminated by his or her employer if the reason for termination is irrelevant to the work. Particularly, a termination shall be regarded as arbitrary if it is prompted by a formal complaint filed by the worker with the competent authorities or a legal action instituted against the employer that proved to be valid.'

Dispute over rent contract

Question: A year ago, I had rented a villa from a real estate office. The lease expired a month ago. It is mentioned in the lease contract that I need to vacate the property immediately after the expiry of the lease contract or pay a compensation of Dh50,000 in the event of failure to vacate. Currently, the real estate office has refused to renew the lease contract until the compensation is paid. My question is, according to Dubai rental law, am I entitled to have the contract renewed and not be evicted without paying the compensation amount? Please advise.

Answer: You have the right to renew the contract at Dubai Rental Dispute Center (RDC) without paying the Dh50,000 fine, through an Offer and Deposit case, along with depositing the original cheques for the new tenancy period. The lessor cannot evict you or claim this Dh50,000 without a court judgement. He or she should file a case, requesting the court for an eviction order plus the Dh50,000 compensation and the court shall estimate whether the eviction claim has a legal basis or not and whether the condition of Dh50,000 compensation payment is an abusive condition or not.

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This service of Offer and Deposit enables customers to file a motion, requesting the Provisional and Summary Actions Judge to issue an order without prejudice to the rights or to file a motion for depositing a new lease, cheques and keys to the property. Some of the service terms as stipulated by the centre are as following:

1. Lessee’s notice to Lessor of deposit (through Notary Public, Registered Post with receipt of acknowledgment or through email).

2. Proof of the lessor refusing to receive rent such as (eviction notice given to the lessee, correspondence stating the lessor declining the rent, proof of ongoing legal dispute, the lessee’s notice to the lessor of rent offer for the period expired, including lessor’s acknowledgement of notice.

3. Lessee’s original cheques to be deposited with RDC after Lessor has been served with notification thereof.

4. In case the depositor fails to submit the Lessor’s receipt of notice within ten business days, the motion shall be filed but closed.

5. The rent deposit shall be accepted from the Lessee, his/her attorney or one of his/her relatives — even of the fourth-degree.