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Harassment laws in UAE

Harassment laws in UAE Harassment is defined as an offence in which someone intentionally try to disturb, threat, humiliate, or intimidate other person. Harassment can be in both forms, verbal and non-verbal. The United Arab Emirates has laws in place to address harassment, both in the workplace and in public spaces. The country’s Labor Law prohibits any form of harassment or discrimination in the workplace, and includes provisions for protecting employees who report such incidents. Additionally, the UAE’s Penal Code criminalizes a range of behaviors that can be considered harassment, including sexual harassment and stalking. Penalties for violating these laws can include fines, imprisonment, and deportation. However, it is important to note that the legal system in the UAE is based on sharia law and may not be the same as the legal system of other countries. Types of harassment There are several types of harassment which are following: Discriminatory harassment  It has been justified on the behalf of race, age, gender, religion and disability.  Physical harassment  Physical harassment has been defined as the actions that including physical attack on someone. Psychological harassment   The behavior and action of someone which are damaging, painful and annoying, intimidate or insulting. Power harassment  In power harassment higher level authorities try to humiliate, insult, threat and misuse their powers in the hierarchy of the organization. Sexual harassment    Sexual harassment is defined as the harassing a person or employee either male or female for sexual favor. Also, doing such actions which can force to do the sexual activities. It has been discovered that more than 75% women’s who experienced harassment are reluctant to report it due to their reputation, and loss of jobs. The purpose to write this article is shed light on sexual harassment in the perspective of UAE and which punishment UAE law define for those who are guilt for harassment. Federal Law Number 3 of 1987 (the Penal code of UAE) is not silent about harassment Article 358 elaborate that an individual who is guilt to commit this offence will suffer from imprisonment of 6 month or more punishment. This punishment can be more than one year if this crime is committed with male/female whose age is less than 15years. Article 359 classify that if an individual tried to harass a woman on public place through abusive language or disgraceful actions will be punished for one year or approximately 10000 AED fine as a penalty. Moreover, article 359 sub article 2 of the federal decree law # 15/2020 elaborate that sexual harassment as an extreme irritation of others by repeating actions, or words will suffer from two kinds of penalties:
  1. The individual who will commit this offence will go to jail for one year or pay fine AED 10000.
  2. If the crime is committed by a group of people and they used weapon to harass someone the will be jailed for two years and the penalty of fine will be 50000 AED.
Penalty for foreigner Suppose the offence is committed by a foreigner who is not citizen of UAE then he will be punished according to the article 358 and 359, after that blacklisted for 10 years and deported to his/her country with in 24hours.        Article 361 defines that an individual who seduces someone on public place will be punish for six-month imprisonment along with fine of 5000 AED. Article 363 defines determine that if an individual or group of people persuades a male/female (who is under 18 years) to do intercourse, prostitution or other sexual activities, will be punished for 2 years of imprisonment and a fine. Procedure to file a complaint about sexual harassment? The procedure to file a complaint is very simple in UAE, also the victim can take help from the legal experts of ELI regarding the submission of harassment complaint in police station. Victim needs to find nearest police station to file a complaint about the harassment. The victim either male/female should complete the details of the act. Try to provide evidence if possible. After registration of the complaint, the public prosecutor will conduct an investigation about the harasser and will draft a criminal report to the justice court for judgement. One should keep in mind harassment is not just about women but also men are victims of this offence. Article 359  justify the sexual harassment to men. Harassment at work As UAE is global village and women’s are also encouraged to work in the organization. In UAE, complaints about the sexual harassment are not registered by women due to damaging of reputation. Women’s in UAE prefer to quit the jobs instead of reporting a complaint about harassment. It has been discovered that victims are not fully aware about their rights or afraid about the offender’s revenge, i.e. embarrassment and insult by colleagues. Most of the common harassment against women are inappropriate touching, abusive comments about her appearance or body, dressing, text messages with pictures, videos, or pornographic material. It is not about the females; males are also suffered from such offence. Furthermore, UAE labour law (Federal Law Number 8 of 1980) in Article 120 unfold that an organization or firm have right to fire a worker without any notice if he/she is guilty to commit an offence of harassment. The simple process to file a complaint about an employee, in case of harassment at work is divided in two ways such as:
  • Contact with police station to file the complaint.
  • Contact with lawyers (ELI legal experts) to file the complaint about offender.
  • Report to the firm human resource department to seek advice and proceed with the complaint at the police station.
  • File a complaint direct to the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratization (MOHRE).
  • Dial helpline (80060) that advise you how to file a complaint.
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