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Home > Legal View
 
Employer mustn’t stop staff from praying

Yusuf Al Sharief / 15 April 2012

A friend of mine is a decent and disciplined man. He has shown very good performance over his four-month service with a company here as a technician.

A friend of mine is a decent and disciplined man. He has shown very good performance over his four-month service with a company here as a technician. Though he is very reliable, punctual and honest, his employer is threatening to sack him immediately unless he shaves off his beard and stop praying during working hours. Is this legal? What should 
he do?

Such a decent and disciplined worker should be encouraged rather than be demoralised. Performing well and being committed, reliable, punctual and honest are good assets in favour of this technician who should be rewarded instead of being reprimanded.

Unless the employer and worker agreed in writing upon sealing the employment contract that he should shave off his beard, he (the employer) is not entitled to ask him (worker) to do so. However, the employer may ask his employee to cut short his beard if it does hamper his duties or performance.

As for prayer, the employer must not ask him to stop praying during duty. On the contrary, the employer, as per Article No (2) of the ministerial decree No (1/149), is bound to streamline prayer timing for his employees and allow them to pray. That must be even clearly stipulated in the company bylaw. 

 

Yousuf Al Sharief is a former Deputy Chairman of the Sharjah Consultative Council and an Emirati legal consultant with Yousuf Al Sharief & Associates, Advocates and Legal Consultants, with Masters Degree in law. Readers may email their questions to: ktedit@emirates.net.ae or send them to (Legal View), Khaleej Times, Dubai P.O. Box 11243.

(Compiled by Ahmed Shaaban)

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