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Question: I have been working for a company for three years. Four months ago, I stopped getting my salary due to the COVID-19 conditions. Last month, I registered a labour complaint against my employer to claim my late wages, and the employer did not respond, so the complaint was referred to the competent court. Fifty per cent of the company’s employees have been working, and I have been out of work for two months by (verbal) order of the employer. Am I still employed? Am I entitled to claim the salaries until the end of the lawsuit? What are my rights under the law?

Answer: Suspension from work has conditions stated in Article 112 of the UAE Labour Law No. (8) for the year 1980. It states that, “The worker may be temporarily suspended from work upon the charging thereof of a deliberate crime against life, property, honour, honesty or of carrying out a strike. The suspension period shall commence on the date of the notification of the incident to the competent authorities and until the issuance of a decision thereby in such regard. The worker shall not be entitled to his wage during the said suspension period. Should a decision be issued for the non-prosecution or the acquittal of the worker, the latter shall be reinstated and paid the full wage for the suspension period if suspension is established to be on a malicious basis on the part of the employer. Such entitlement of the pay purports that suspension is malicious. The onus of proof of such malice rests on the employee.”

It is established by the Supreme Court that the evaluation of malicious suspension is left to the discretion of the Court of Merits, without any review once its judgment is built on sound permissible grounds duly supported in the documents.

Since the employer’s decision was verbal, it is up to the court to decide whether you are terminated or suspended and to decide the true end date of the relationship related to both cases, build on documents and other grounds like investigation, transferring the matter to expert, witnesses and so on.

If your situation was considered as termination, given the coronavirus situation, this termination might also be considered as arbitrary dismissal and the employee can be entitled for all salaries up to the date the relationship is ended.

This is established as per the Supreme Court of Dubai that whenever the employment contract is still in place between the employer and the worker, and the relationship has not been proven to end in any way so that the worker has performed his work or prepared himself to do it and devote himself to it even if the employer did not assign him a job according to the text.

The first paragraph of Article 912 of the Civil Transactions Law would obligate the employer to pay the agreed salary for the worker and his discharge from him will not be justified except by written evidence or by acknowledgment or oath pursuant to the provision of Article 58 of the Law on Regulating Work Relations. By saying that he did not start his work, the employer has the burden of proving this by claiming that the employee is claiming other than what is stipulated in the existing work contract between them, and the employer may prove that with all legal evidence.