Dealing with a Toxic Boss in the UAE: Your Legal Options

Dealing with a Toxic Boss in the UAE: Your Legal Options

In the UAE, employers are legally required to ensure a safe and appropriate working environment for their employees. This obligation is outlined in Article 13(13) of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021, which mandates that employers must provide a safe and suitable workplace.

Question: I am an administrative executive at a free zone company. Recently, a new team leader joined our small department. He often disrespects and demeans us, issues inappropriate directives, and sometimes shouts at us, only to buy snacks as an apology later. Despite his cordial demeanor with the company’s directors and executives, it feels impossible to lodge a formal complaint against him. What steps can I take to address this situation without fearing repercussions, especially since I work in a free zone company?

Answer: According to UAE law, employers must provide a safe and proper working environment as per Article 13(13) of the Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021. This article stipulates,

"The Employer shall provide a safe and appropriate working environment."

Protection Against Harassment

Article 14(2) of the Employment Law specifically prohibits all forms of harassment, including sexual, verbal, physical, and psychological harassment. This provision ensures that harassment from employers, managers, colleagues, or any other individuals in the workplace is illegal. The law explicitly states,

"It shall be prohibited to exercise sexual harassment, bullying or any verbal, physical or mental violence against the employee by his employer, manager or colleagues."

If your boss is disrespectful, uses demeaning language, or shouts at you publicly, he could face legal consequences. Under Article 427 of the Federal Law No. 31 of 2021 on the Issuance of the Crimes and Penalties Law, such actions can result in imprisonment for up to six months or a fine of up to Dh5,000. Article 427 specifies,

"A penalty of imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding Dh5,000 shall be imposed if the libel or slander is committed on the telephone or directly against the victim in the presence of others."

Steps to Take

If you experience verbal abuse or misconduct from your boss, you can file a complaint with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE). Following this, you may choose to resign without notice within five days of filing the complaint, retaining all your entitlements.

This is supported by Article 45(2) of the Employment Law, which states,

"The employee may quit work without notice and reserve all his entitlements at the end of the service if the employee is subject to assault, violence or harassment at the workplace by the employer, or his legal representative, provided that the employee reports such act to the concerned authorities and the Ministry within five working days from the date on which he is able to report."

Employees in the UAE are protected under comprehensive laws that ensure their right to a safe and respectful working environment. If you face verbal abuse or any form of harassment, legal avenues are available to protect your rights and well-being. It is important to report such incidents to the relevant authorities to initiate the necessary legal processes and secure your employment rights.

News Source: Khaleej Times

Maryam Pervez

Written by Maryam Pervez

Maryam is the Managing Editor at HiDubai, bringing 8+ years of expertise in marketing, social media, and content development. She holds a Master's degree in Marketing Comms from Middlesex University.
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