I have been working in a private company for two years. A year ago, my employer gave me a cheque for my salaries for the previous 6 months. The cheque had bounced due to insufficient funds, but the employer promised me that he would pay the amount of the cheque at the end of service.
Two months ago, I filed a case before the Ministry of Labour to demand my late salaries, but the employer, after learning of the complaint, fired me from work. My questions: (1) Do I have the legal right to claim compensation for unfair dismissal? (2) Will the court award me late salaries for more than a year? Please advise.
I would advise the following:
You have the right to claim compensation for unlawful termination because apparently, your status is categorised under Article (47) of the Labour Law, taking into consideration that the court will take the decision as per the documents submitted.
(1) The mentioned Article states that “The termination of the worker’s service by the employer is unlawful if the termination of the worker’s service is due to filing a serious complaint to the Ministry or filing a lawsuit against the employer, whose validity is proven. The employer shall pay fair compensation to the worker estimated by the competent court if it is proven that the termination is unlawful according to Clause (1) of this Article.
The amount of compensation shall be defined by taking into account the work type and the amount of damage caused to the worker and his service term. It is required in all cases that the amount of compensation does not exceed the worker’s wage for a period of (3) three months, calculated according to the last wage he was obtaining”.
(2) Regarding the salaries and, as a general rule, the labour law states in its Article 54 that “A lawsuit related to any of the rights accrued under the provisions of this Decree-Law shall become time-barred after the lapse of one (1) year from the date of entitlement to the right that is the subject matter of the lawsuit”.
Which means that you will not be entitled to the late salaries for more than a year.
In your case, you may use the cheque instead of chasing the employer regarding the old salaries. The cheque of insufficient amount is treated as an execution document that allows you to fulfil its amount through the Court’s Execution Departments.
As per Article 667 of the Commercial Transactions Law ("the cheque marked by the drawee as 'without or insufficient balance' shall be deemed an execution deed and its bearer may request the mandatory execution, in whole or in part. The provisions, procedures and rules contained in the Civil Procedures Law shall be followed in the matter of the application for execution and the dispute thereof.”)