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United Arab Emirates - Avenues for redress (penalties, remedies) and litigation procedure for individual complaints

Avenues for redress (penalties, remedies) and litigation procedure for individual complaints - United Arab Emirates - 2013    

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Compensation for unfair dismissal - free determination by court: No

  • Art. 123 FLLR.

Compensation for unfair dismissal - Legal limits (ceiling in months or calculation method):
Maximum 3 months' wages calculated on the basis of the worker's last wages.

  • See art. 123 FLLR

Reinstatement available: No

  • The FLLR does not provide for reinstatement.
    However, some sources state that the dismissal of a UAE national employee in violation of the terms of the Ministerial Decision No 176 of 2009 may entail reinstatement although not expressly provided in that Decision. Art. 3 of that Decision sets out the consequence of a violation of the Decision as follows: if the Ministry of Labour considers that the termination of the UAE national was unlawful it will inform the employer as which will then have 15 days to resolve the dispute with the UAE employee according to the directives of the Ministry. If the employer fails to resolve the dispute within this period, the matter is referred immediately to the relevant court and the Ministry will put stop issuing new labour permits (requested by the employer) until the court renders a final judgment in the matter.
    (see for instance, Latham & Watkins, "Employment Issues in the United Arab Emirates", October 2009, p.4, available at:

Preliminary mandatory conciliation: Yes

  • See art. 6 FLLR: the dispute shall be first brought to the
    Labour Department which handles a conciliation process. If no amicable settlement is reached, the Labour Department will refer the dispute to the Court within 15 days from the date of submission.

Competent court(s) / tribunal(s): ordinary courts

Existing arbitration: No

  • Arbitration is not available for the settlement of individual disputes. However, in the event of a collective dispute, if no settlement is reached before the Labour Department during the mediation process, the dispute is then referred to the Conciliation Board which shall issue a decision on the dispute. The decision of the Conciliation Boards can be appealed before The Supreme Arbitration Committee (see arts. 158-161 FLLR)

Length of procedure: 1 year(s)

  • Info found in secondary sources:
    In case of an individual labour dispute, the conciliation phase before the Ministry of labour generally takes 2-4 weeks.
    When the case is referred to the Court of first instance, it generally takes one year to be adjudicated.
    If the employee appeals the decision of the Court of Instance and goes to the Court of Cassation, the process is longer: generally additional 2 years.
    (See: The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Employment & Labour Law 2011, "United Arab Emirates", (Chap. 32) by Alfridi & Angel, available at: