(Adel Arafah)5 August 2009
ABU DHABI - The Supreme Court ordered a contracting company to pay a worker his salary arrears of 11 months and a pay of three months as compensation for terminating the worker
while he was sick.
Court records showed that the worker filed a complaint at the labour disputes department, Ministry of Labour, demanding to be reinstated but the employer turned down an amicable settlement through the ministry’s mediation. The company argued that the worker was absent from work for four months, a period that was enough for it to end his service.
The Ministry referred the case to the Abu Dhabi Court of First Instance which, in turn, delegated an expert to assess the situation.
The expert said the worker was out of work for undergoing a critical kidney transplant surgery in his home country. He noted that the worker was on his annual leave.
Guided by the expert report, the primary court obliged the company to reinstate the worker, disburse all his salaries during his sickness in addition to salaries for three months as compensation for the moral and psychological damage he suffered due to
the action taken.
The company challenged the verdict at the Federal Court of Appeal which upheld the primary court ruling.
However, the company moved the Federal Supreme Court which turned down its petition, arguing that “The UAE labour law provides blanket protection to the worker and stipulates that disease is not a reason for ending service of the worker unless it is found that such illness poses a threat to him and other workers.”
“As the medical report confirms the safety of the worker and that he is fit and healthy to assume his job as administrator, the company has no right to sack him,’’ the apex court affirmed after it confirmed the primary verdict. It ordered the company to pay Dh2,000 as advocacy fees to the worker