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When an employee is suspected of misconduct or a policy violation, the employer must decide whether or not to initiate a formal disciplinary process against the employee; how and when those processes should be implemented; and what mandatory local law requirements it must follow (if any) prior to or after imposing a disciplinary sanction on the employee, including but not limited to.
This write up will provides a general overview of the applicable legal provisions employers should be aware of when recommending and enforcing disciplinary action and/or penalties against their employees* under Federal Law No.8 of 1980, as amended (UAE Labour Law) – the main legislation governing employment matters in the UAE (excluding the DIFC).
What does an employer do in the case of disciplinary action?
The disciplinary process in the UAE is somewhat similar to that in many other jurisdictions, such as the UK or Europe, providing some comfort to HR professionals working for UK or European branches in the UAE. Workers in the UAE have the right to file lawsuits for unfair/arbitrary dismissal, as well as, depending on the manner of termination and subject to different eligibility conditions, a demand for an end-of-service gratuity payout, which may be extremely expensive for long-serving, senior, and/or highly compensated employees.
The legislative provisions regulating disciplinaries are limited in themselves, but they specifically outline how a disciplinary procedure should be carried out: under Article 102 of the UAE Labour Law, an employer can impose certain disciplinary penalties on its workers, including a warning, a fine, or dismissal (with or without notice). Article 110 of the UAE Labour Law requires employers to follow strict legal formalities, stating that the penalties mentioned in Article 102 will not be enforced unless the following conditions are met:
The complaints against the employee have been communicated to him in writing.
The employee has been given the chance to respond to the allegations.
Any defense offered by the employee in response to the allegations has been investigated by the employer.
The above processes are recorded in the employee's personnel file, with the penalty noted at the bottom of the report.
What is the concept of an employee warning letter?
A warning letter to an employee is a written notice sent by the employer to the employee in order to remedy workplace misbehavior or misconduct. Typically, an employee would issue a verbal warning before issuing a written one. This, however, will be determined by the company's disciplinary policy. Employees need to understand how their wrongdoing affects their job and the business, which is why warning letters are so important. It also informs staff of the implications of breaking company rules.
Finally, the warning letters assist the supervisor in keeping track of the disciplinary measures taken prior to terminating an employee.
How to Write a Letter of Warning to an Employee?
Alert letters to employees are formal letters. To make your letter more professional, you should follow the official letter writing style when writing to them. As a result, the structure of your letter should normally be as follows:
You must write the sender's address (the employer) in the top left corner of your letter at the very beginning.
After the employer's address information, you can leave some space and add the date of writing. This will aid in the record-keeping process.
Employees' Contact Information
You'll enter the employee's name, address, and contact information here. It's worth noting that this segment should come after the date.
Line of the Subject
If you're sending an electronic warning message, the subject line should be included. If you're writing a written letter, you can skip over this section.
The most popular salutations are usually "Dear" or "Hello." The employee's last name should come next, followed by a comma.
The Very First Paragraph
You must state the reason for writing the letter in the introductory paragraphs. Clearly state the issue or misbehavior that the particular employee engaged in.
Here, you'll outline the steps the employee must take to resolve the issue. For example, if an employee brought an unwanted individual into the office without permission, you can instruct them to write a letter of apology to the management. You may also offer the employee a timeline in which you expect them to change.
The Last Paragraph
If the employee fails to change, this paragraph should highlight some of the disciplinary steps that the company will take. Allow enough time for the employee to complete his or her work.
You must give your employee a sense of hope before concluding your message. Let them know that you really believe in their efforts and that you trust them to make positive changes.
Signature and Name
If the letter is typed or handwritten, you must sign it with your name, title, and signature. You may also use the company stamp to verify the source.
Notifying the employee that he or she has been sanctioned
It shall not be lawful to enforce any of the penalties set out in Article 102 of the Labour Law on the worker unless the worker has been notified in writing of the charges levelled against him, the charges have been investigated, and the matter has been reported in a minutes deposited in his personal file. At the end of the minutes, the penalty will be noted. The worker must be informed in writing of the sanctions imposed, including the form and sum of sanctions, the reasons for the imposition, and the punishment that will be imposed if the offence is repeated.
Typical disciplinary procedure
Employers recruiting 15 or more employees must comply with the following requirements, according to Ministerial Decision No. 256 of 2010 on the law and disciplinary regulation:
- Make a disciplinary rule, taking into account the rules of the labour law. They can set their own regulations using the disciplinary regulation imposed by a ministerial decision as a guideline.
- Display the disciplinary rule in a clear area in the workplace after it has been authorised by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. The legislation must be written in Arabic as well as some other language that the staff are familiar with.
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