I had been working in a private school for more than eight months on a contract for a limited period of two years. One month ago, my school terminated my contract saying that my performance was not as per their requirement and that this termination was within the probation period. They mentioned that they had the right to do so because I did not complete the probation period and that I was not entitled to any end-of-service benefit.
As per my school management, the probation period was for nine months, and not six months, as per the school’s rules. The nine-month probation period was mentioned in a separate letter, which I was made to sign at the time of joining the school, but I was informed that in accordance with Labour Law, six months was the minimum probation period. Can the employer increase the probation period arbitrarily? What is my legal position in this case? Do I have the right to claim an air ticket?
Answer: Article No 37 of the Federal Labour Law No 8 of 1980 says: “A worker may be engaged on probation for a period not exceeding six months, during which, his services may be terminated by the employer without notice or severance pay: provided that a worker shall not be engaged on probation more than during service to any one employer. Where a worker successfully completes his period of probation and remains in his job, the said period shall be reckoned towards his period of service.” Therefore, no agreement shall be made to increase the probation period and the school management has violated the Labour Law because they have terminated the questioner’s limited contract after the probation period and the school must compensate the questioner by paying three months’ full salary, plus other end-of-service rights or as per the Labour Court decision. Finally, the employee, as per the Dubai Supreme Court, has the right to claim air ticket to his home country as long as he is not going to join the new employer.
Question: I have been working in a company for more than two years. Last year, I signed a new limited contract for another two years as an HR manager. One month ago, the owner of the company told me that I had divulged some work secrets to a competitor company. Due to the allegation made by my company owner, they have lost one project. Therefore, he asked me to submit my resignation, else he would report me to the Labour Ministry and file a police complaint. How can I get out of this mess?
Answer: If the questioner did not do any wrong act against his employer and the employer’s claim is not true, I advise the questioner not to submit his resignation so that it does not affect his end-of-service gratuity as well as his legal position, especially since the questioner is working under a limited contract.
Ask the Law questions are answered by lawyer Mohammad Ebrahim Al Shaiba of Al Shaiba Advocates and Legal Consultants.