Ask the Law: Can a worker be terminated without notice in UAE for leaking company secrets?
Question: I am a company owner. A month ago, I discovered that one of my employees, who has been working for me for more than five years, has been disclosing the company’s secrets to a competitor, in exchange for money. This was discovered through the emails on the employee’s computer. What is the appropriate action to be taken against this employee, and do I have the right, according to the new Labour Law, to stop him from work? Please advise.
Answer: You have the right to terminate him without notice, after conducting an investigation as per Clause No. 5 of Article 44 of the new Labour Law, which states that “the employer may dismiss the worker without notice after conducting a written investigation with him and the dismissal decision shall be in writing and justified and the employer or its representative shall hand it over to the worker if:
The worker disclosed a work secret related to industrial or intellectual property, which resulted in losses to the employer, missed opportunity or achieving a personal benefit for the worker.
It is better also to file a complaint against him in front of the labour office.
You can also file a criminal case against him by submitting all evidence of the breach he committed. Making a report by an IT expert to prove the breach with the damages he caused and the benefit he gets would be a good way to prove this matter in front of the criminal court. In case the criminal court finds him guilty then you have the right to file a compensation case in front of the labour court.
In case you do not want to terminate him, you have the right to suspend him temporarily from work as per Clause No. 1 of Article 44 of the new law, which states that “the employer may suspend the worker temporarily from work for a period not exceeding 30 days, in order to conduct a disciplinary investigation with him if the investigation interest so requires, along with suspending half the wage during the suspension period”.
If the investigation concluded non-violation, or punishment of the worker by warning, the worker shall be paid the wage that was suspended during the suspension period.