Many employers in UAE are currently unaware of the fact that UAE is one of the signatories of several international conventions that specifically outlaw discriminatory practices, including discrimination of potential candidates based on their race, nationality, language, culture, religion or sex.
Job postings on online job portals which prefer certain nationalities over others are, therefore, illegal. Any organization or person who commits acts of discrimination regardless of the form or by whatever means of expression shall be sentenced to jail or imprisonment of at least five years. be fined with at least AED 5,000 not exceeding AED 1 million or both of the two penalties. This is according to Article 6 of UAE Discrimination Law.
What should businesses do to reduce organizational risk of committing discrimination?
The attention on workplace and recruitment discrimination in UAE means organizations are more aware now regarding their risk for being prosecuted from violations of UAE discrimination laws.
While knowing regarding the current legislation and understanding it are the best places to start, other actions which organizations have to take in order to ensure that they avoid bad press, as well as risk of litigation due to unfair hiring practices and discrimination in the workplace include:
- Clearly defining criteria for role with more focus on qualifications and skills of professionals
- Auditing of current hiring processes implemented by business organizations and closing gaps in order to ensure that there all procedures are inclusive and non-discriminatory
- Upskilling the recruiters and managers on non-discriminatory recruitment processes
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Is it illegal to prioritize hiring of UAE nationals?
UAE Federal Legislation on Discrimination won’t be interfering with all other UAE legislation that affords specific protection for certain groups of society. The law won’t be affecting provisions of UAE Federal Law (no 8) of 1980 that confers certain legal rights to UAE nationals. Pursuant to UAE Labor law, the employers in the country are required in prioritizing the hiring of UEA nationals over any other nationality whenever they recruit in the country.
It is then followed by all Arab nationals. It won’t be possible for employees to bring forth discrimination claims against employers pursuant to the labor law in cases wherein one of the colleagues of the employees receive a more favorable treatment, as well as specific protection according to the UAE Labor Law.
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What are “Protected Characteristics?”
UAE Federal Law (no 2) of 2015 re: discrimination and hatred prohibits any form of discrimination against ‘Protected Characteristics,’ which are as follows:
- Age – it refers to the particular age of a person, such as someone who’s eighteen years of age or to a certain group of people who belong in tone age group like people who are thirty-five and above
- Marriage or civil partnership – it refers to persons who are married, whether they are civil partners or married through their religious affiliation
- Disability – people who are considered disabled are those with mental or physical impairment that has long term and substantial adverse effect with tehri ability in carrying out normal daily activities
- Race – race covers the skin color, national or ethnic origins, and nationality of a person
- Sex or gender – refers to whether an individual is a woman or a man
- Belief or religion – it includes religion or any philosophical or religious belief, including lack of belief
- Maternity and pregnancy – it refers to when a woman is pregnant, as well as the period following child birth
To ensure full compliance with the UAE legislation and expert guidance on all legal matters, contact us here in HHS Lawyers in Dubai to speak with our seasoned labor and employment lawyers in Dubai UAE!