‘Is it illegal for a manager to verbally insult his employees?’

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I have been with my business for three years. A new manager joined last year and it’s clear he doesn’t like some employees. We have been the target of racist abuse, sexist suggestions and he yells at us for no reason. It used to be a good place to work, but now we are upset every day.

find a new job is not easy so is there anything we can do to make him Stop? BC, Abu Dhabi

Such behavior in the workplace is unprofessional and unacceptable. A company of any reasonable size should have a company manual that details procedures for handling this type of problem.

If a company does not have a manual, the first step is to approach the manager’s immediate superior with details of the situation. No company should allow such behavior and it is prohibited by the new UAE Labor Law, which came into force on February 2, 2022.

Article 14 of the new law provides: “Sexual harassment, bullying or any verbal, physical or psychological violence committed against the worker by the employer, his superiors at work, his colleagues or the people who work with him are prohibited.

In addition, Article 4 of the law, which deals with equality and discrimination, provides: “Any discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national or social origin or disability, which would have the effect of destroying or compromising equal opportunities or undermining equal treatment in employment, the maintenance of employment and the enjoyment of its advantages is prohibited”.

The manager may not be aware that his behavior is illegal, but he must be made to understand that there are legal consequences. The information here can be forwarded or left in plain sight.

The manager may not be aware that his behavior is illegal, but he must be made to understand that there are legal consequences.

Keren Bobker

First, CB and his colleagues must keep a record of all instances of harassment and bullying, documenting the details of each incident and the date. This can also be used to register a workplace complaint. Senior management or the owner should not allow such behavior.

If there is no change in the behavior of the manager or if the company does not act, there are options. Legal advice can be sought, or CB can register a case with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization.

I signed a basic offer letter for a job in a new company, but now I have doubts about changing jobs, especially since I think I want to leave the UAE This year. If I signed the offer letter to say I will start with them on April 1, can I opt out of the deal?

I haven’t signed any actual contract or legal documents for a visa application and haven’t heard from them since I emailed them with the attached letter last week. SP, Al-Ain

The formal employment process in the private sector includes an employee receiving a formal job offer from the company. It should contain all the important and relevant details of the job, as well as a document that summarizes the main points of UAE labor law.

I consider this second document to be particularly relevant at this time due to new changes in labor law. Both parties must sign these documents.

In accordance with the labor reforms of a few years ago, a letter of offer made to a foreign worker is legally binding after it has been signed by both parties. It then becomes a legal contract and will be stored in the ministry’s database.

Government guidelines state that the letter of offer and the appendix which details the labor laws must be signed and that it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that all employees fully understand the terms.

If only the letter of offer has been issued, SP could argue that it is not binding without the appendix, but given the situation, I would recommend that they approach the employer honestly.

He is expected to declare that he would like to step down, partly because he plans to leave the country this year and would then have to resign.

A company is unlikely to want to go through the effort and cost of hiring a new employee only to have them quit a few months later, so they will be willing to withdraw the offer.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial advisor and senior partner at Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 25 years of experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information purposes only.

Updated: March 13, 2022, 5:00 a.m.

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