Here is what the UAE laws say about workplace harassment, and how you can protect yourself if you are experiencing it
28 September 2023| Last updated on 3 October 2023
Are you getting harassed at your job in the UAE? Here's what you need to know.
The UAE has laws in place to help promote a safe and inclusive office environment for both Emirati and expat employees.
Harassment and bullying has no place in an office or any workplace. If you feel that you may be getting harassed by your employer or coworkers, it is important to speak up and stand against it.
What do the UAE laws say about harassment in the workplace?
It is against the law to harass a coworker in the UAE, according to the Employment Law and Article 413 of the UAE Penal Law. This includes forms of physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal harassment.
In addition, as per Article 13 of the UAE Employment Law, employers are legally required to "provide a safe and appropriate working environment."
Employees are also required by law to "display good behaviour and conduct and observe professional honesty and integrity," as stated in Article 16 of the Employment Law.
If you experience any form of sexual harassment at your workplace, rest assured that this is a crime, and the offender may be liable to a jail sentence and a fine of at least AED 10,000, or either of the two penalties (according to Article 413 of the UAE Penal Law).
What is considered harassment in a UAE workplace?
Some of the common examples of office harassment include but are not limited to:
- Physical harassment (hitting, slapping, etc.)
- Sexual harassment (inappropriate physical touches, comments, or remarks).
- Inappropriate conversations, questions, or comments.
- Belittling and/or patronising comments, nicknames, and remarks.
- Offensive or dergatory comments, jokes, and banter.
- Ignoring the worker.
- Mimicking the employee or employer with the intention to mock.
We highly recommend gathering proof of the harassment, such as keeping record of the messages and emails received, having witnesses, etc.
What can I do if I'm being harassed?
If you believe that you have been or are being harassed by a coworker, you should report the conduct to your employer or Human Resources (HR) Manager. Your employer or HR will typically issue a warning letter, a show cause letter to your colleague, or other disciplinary actions.
Depending on the severity of your coworker's behaviour with you, your boss may terminate his or her employment, without serving the usual notice period (according to Article 44 of the Employment Law).
What if my colleague is still behaving inappropriately despite a warning?
If your coworker doesn't cease his or her harassment, you can also file a criminal complaint through the Dubai Police.
My boss is the one harassing me, what can I do?
If your boss is the one harassing you, or you do not trust how your employer will react, you may raise the issue with the Dubai Police.
How to file a criminal complaint about your colleague to Dubai authorities?
For employees residing and working in Dubai, you can bring your case to the Dubai Police by inquiring through:
- The official Dubai Police app.
- Contact the call centre by dialing 901
- Email: [email protected]
- Visit your nearest Dubai Police station.