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Reader in UAE asks: In case of wrongful suspension, can I file a suit to claim my right to return to work?

Suspension from work based on false charges

Question: I have been working in a private company for the past five years. Six months ago, my employer suspended me from work due to what he claimed as posting of incorrect charges in the books of the company and after the employer opened a case with the police, I was first referred to the Public Prosecution Office and then to the Criminal Court. Subsequently, the criminal court acquitted me of all charges. However, the employer still refuses to allow me to return to work and pay my salaries for the period of suspension. My question is: Do I have a legal right to file a lawsuit to claim my right to return to work and compensation for the damages caused to my reputation and esteem? This is all the more crucial given the fact that the Criminal Court has already ruled in my favour, citing the incorrectness of the employer’s accusations. Also, do I have the right to claim my current salaries until the case is settled? Please advise.

Answer: To answer these questions, I would advise the questioner that:

Article 112 of the federal labour law states: ‘If the employee has been charged with premeditated crime — such as his involvement in a physical assault or robbery or other offences such as abuse of honesty, breach of trust or strikes — the said employee may be temporarily suspended from work. If a judgement releases the employee from standing trial or acquits him he or her, then he or she shall be reinstated to his or her work and the remuneration for the suspension period will have to be paid in full in cases where the suspension is proved to be maliciously contrived by the employer.’

It has been guaranteed by the court that if the employer suspends the worker from work because of accusation of one of the crimes mentioned in this text and decides upon his or her innocence or not bringing him or her to trial, the employer must allow the employee to return work. (In cassation No. 155/2014 labour.)

The worker is not entitled to his or her wages for the period of suspension from work, unless the suspension is malicious on the part of the employer and the burden to prove this falls on the worker according to Article 112, as mentioned above.

Dubai Courts state that ‘The worker’s entitlement to his or her wage for the period of suspension from work is [restricted by] the issuance of a decision not to bring him or her to trial or innocence and his or her suspension is proven to be malicious (the employer is the one who had plotted the accusation with the intent to deceive the employee). To extract whether the employer has accusing the worker in a malicious way or not, is adjudged by the trial court when it establishes its judiciary on justifiable reasons that support it in the documents. The burden of proving this deception falls on the worker. (In cassation No 2010/46 Labor.)

You can file the requests you want and the court will decide if you are liable of them or not from the proofs and documents submitted.

However, according to the court’s decisions, the employer must pay you the dues (end of service, the remuneration for the suspended period in case you prove that the employer had a malicious intention, annual leave, any pending salary before suspension, etc), including compensation for arbitrary dismissal. As for the compensation of reputation and esteem, it should be before the Civil Court.

You will not be liable to take the current salaries until the case ends. Since the salary is given to the employee for the work done by him or her and since in your case you have not been doing any work for the said period, then you will not be entitled to these salaries. You will be considered as terminated from the date the employer refused to return you to work.

Moreover, based on the right given to the employer to terminate the employment contract, the court will not force the employer to allow you to return to work if the employer decided that he no longer wanted you in the company. However, on the contrary, the employer must compensate you for all such decisions that are found to be part of an arbitrary dismissal.

Bounced rental cheque

Question: I have a villa in Dubai that I had rented out six months ago. According to the lease agreement, the tenant has paid two cheques. I received the first payment upon signing the contract and the second payment on April 22, 2021. Upon presenting the second cheque to the bank, it was returned due to insufficient funds. Thereafter, I learned that the tenant was preparing to leave the country and had no intention to clear the cheque amount. My question is: How can I legally prevent the tenant from moving out of the country? Will this come under the civil or rental court? Please advise.

Answer: You may adopt two ways. The first one is to file a criminal complaint with the police for the bounced cheque. As a result of that, the police will ban the drawer of the cheque from leaving he country, based on Article 401 of the penal code ([A person] ‘shall be subject to a jail sentence or to a fine, whoever draws in bad faith a cheque without sufficient funds or who, after giving the cheque withdraws all or part of the funds, so that the remaining balance is insufficient to cover the amount of the cheque, or gives order to the drawee to stop payment, or if he deliberately writes or signs the cheque in such a manner as to make it non payable).

The second option is to file a performance order (Writ of Payment) with the Rental Disputes Centre. This service enables a customer to file a petition, requesting the Provisional and Summary Actions Judge to issue a writ of payment, which is a request, instead of a lawsuit, activating an urgent dispute resolution petition by a decision of the judge of temporary matters that enable you to claim even the amount of the returned cheque (In the event that the request is an obligation of the value of a bounced rental cheque) or to request a travel ban (In the event that the request was for banning the drawer of the cheque from travelling).

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The terms of this Writ of Payment service is to notify the debtor of the payment of debt — payment obligation — by any approved means of notification, and five days after the notification, if the debtor does not pay. In that case, a Writ of Payment Motion can be filed. All documents must be submitted in or translated legally into Arabic and uploaded on the Rental Disputes Centre web page according to the sections described in the system as no hard copies shall be entertained.

The “performance order” mechanism, concerned with financial claims, could prevent the landlord from entering into different levels of litigation, in addition to the possibility of obtaining rent arrears within days, indicating that it is a step that avoids filing a case because of rent arrears, but it does not allow him or her to file an eviction suit.

This mechanism is in force in the Civil Procedure Law, as the bylaw of Federal Law No 111 of 1992, regarding the Civil Procedure Law issued by Cabinet Resolution No 57 of 2018, stipulated that it is an exception from the general rules in filing a lawsuit through the “performance order”, if the creditor’s right is established in writing, in what is required to accept the “performance order”. The creditor must assign the debtor to fulfil within a period of at least five days by any of the means of advertising as specified in the regulatory regulations, and the right mentioned in the assignment is not less than what is required in the petition for issuing a payment order.

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