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Legal View: Holding passport of employee is illegal

Nasser Ahmed Al Osaiba (Legal View) / 21 May 2012


Holding passport of employee is illegal

I have been working as a mechanical engineer in a Sharjah-based company since January 2011. My company is threatening to sack me unless I give them my passport. Is this legal?

Holding the employee’s passport from him is illegal. If such action occurs, the staff can approach the nearest police station and the company will have to hand over the passport there. Your company has no right to hold your passport. Retaining employees’ passports by employers is against the UAE Labour Law.

The passport is a personal document of its holder and its final authority is the issuing government. You may also file a complaint at the police department for obtaining your passport.

Insurance claim

A tourist was hit by a car while waiting at the pedestrian crossing. According to the police report, it was the driver’s mistake. The tourist’s leg has been fractured and he has suffered minor injuries.

However, his visa will expire this month and it cannot be renewed. How will he handle his case? When will the court start hearing the case?

Should he approach the court? How will he get back the expenses incurred and compensation from the insurance?

Handling the case can preferably be done through a lawyer especially since the injured does not reside in the UAE and has to leave the country. Alternatively, he can appoint any of his relatives to represent him before the court. The main point is that he does not have to appear in court since it is a traffic case. The public prosecutors will represent him.

On the contrary, if it was a civil case where he claims damages from the person who caused the accident and his insurance company, then he will have to appear in all the hearings by himself or through an attorney.

Regarding the time of hearing the case, there is no fixed time for the prosecutor to finalise the investigations and set a date for the court hearings.

It depends on the work load they have.

With regard to the expenses and compensation claim from the insurance company, the injured has to approach the company with the supporting documents and follow their internal procedure to recover the expenses and claim compensation.

However, if they refuse to pay, he has to file a civil case against them after the traffic case is completed and the person who caused the accident is announced guilty in this accident.

Expired registration

I sold my car 11 years ago and travelled home. Returning to the UAE after five years, I came to know that I had an expired car registration in my name in the RTA records. Hence, I can’t buy a new car in my name. The car was not transferred in the new owner’s name by the car dealer. I had handed over my car registration documents to the buyer at the time of sale, 10 years ago. I do not have the sale documents now. Please advice.

You can file an objection before the RTA and support it with the documents that prove you have been away for 11 years.

In case this does not succeed, you can file an urgent case to waive off or reconsider the fines.

Partner and staff

If a UAE national is a partner in a company and is also the managing director of the company actively involved in the day-to-day management of the company, is he entitled to the end of service benefits and leave salary, as well?

The managing director is employed by the company. Hence, he is like any other worker in the company. And, there is no conflict between being a partner and having the normal staff rights in the same company.

One year ban

I work in a private company at the Dubai Healthcare City. Is the one year ban applicable to the employees working in free zone companies?

Dubai Healthcare City is a free zone, hence, the rule of one year ban is not applicable.

Nasser Ahmed Al Osaiba is an Emirati Partner and Lawyer at Global Advocates and Legal Consultants and legal member in the Rent Dispute Committee, Umm Al Quwain, with a Master’s Degree in Commercial Law, Melbourne University, Australia.

Readers may e-mail their questions to: news@khaleejtimes.com or send them to (Legal View), Khaleej Times, Dubai PO Box 11243.


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