Upon challenge by Dubai Attorney General, Advisor/Essam Essa Al Humaidan, the Court of Cassation has cancelled two judgments issued by Court of Appeal of Dubai in two labor disputes with claims over half million, in favor of law.
The first case details are that the Claimant employee filed the case against the Respondent (Employer) to claim the sum of AED 287322being labor dues and AED 22500, return ticket.
The Claimant indicated that he joined work on 12/11/2011,as per unlimited term employment contract. The Employee continued in his work until 30/06/2018. Because the Respondent refused to pay his labor dues, so he filed complaint on 26/06/2019. It was agreed between the parties to settle the dues before the competent labor department and the Respondent sent email based on that settlement dated 1/7/2019 acknowledging the labor dues and they agreed to settle full amount according to the agreed upon payment plan.
But the Respondent failed to pay the dues to the employee according to the settlement so the employee filed another complaint before labor department on 2/9/2019. Accordingly, the labor department referred the dispute to the competent court to issue the judgment, because no amicable settlement was reachable. After the case was deliberated before the trial court judgment was issued as if in presence of the parties. The Respondent was ordered to pay to the employee the sum of AED 207474, ticket to home country or its cash equivalent. The Respondent challenged the judgment through appeal and the appeal court cancelled the appellate judgment and issued new judgment dismissing the case.
The second case details are as follows: the employee(Claimant) filed his case against the employer (Respondent) to claim labor does the sum of AED 227.357, plus ticket to home country AED 2000.
The Claimant indicated that he joined work on 1/11/2000,as per unlimited term employment contract and continued in work until the Respondent violated her contractual obligations. The Claimant claimed labor dues. The Respondent made a statement requesting to adjoin the previous owner of the Respondent company, and requested to order him to pay to the employee anything awarded by the court.
The Employee submitted a statement requesting to ad join the previous owner and to order him to jointly pay along with the Respondent the claimed amount. Accordingly, the trial court ordered the Respondent and the adjoined party to pay to the employee the sum of AED 123.145.90, plus ticket. The Employee and the previous owner both challenged the judgment. The court of appeal approved both appeals and cancelled the appellate judgment regarding the order against the adjoined party, the previous owner, only and affirmed the judgment in all other aspects.
Both parties submitted petitions to Adviser/ Essam Al Humedan, Dubai attorney general, to challenge the judgment through cassation, because they can’t challenge through cassation as the claim value is less than AED five hundred thousand.
The petitions were examined by Mr. Tariq Alnaqbi, head of civil prosecution, and it was clear that the appellate judgments violated and misapplied the law.
Both petitions were submitted to Adviser/ Essam Essa Al Humedan, Dubai attorney general, who approved the same along with the statement of cassation in favor of the law, article 174 of the civil procedure law.
The Cassation court cancelled both appellate judgments. In the first judgment, the court cancelled the judgment and referred the case back to the appeal court to issue a new judgment. The court built its decision upon article six of labor law and the public rules in the civil law. Article No. 481 of the civil law stipulates that ”Prescription barring the admittance of hearing the case is interrupted whenever there is a lawful excuse barring claim of the right”. The right holder shall insist on his right according to article 483 and 484 of the same law. If The prescribed period expires without examining the case, a new period shall start according to article 485 of the said law. If the said period stops for any reasons whatsoever, then the past period shall not be counted.
Therefore, the labor dispute papers affirm that the employee filed his complaint on 26/6/2019 before the competent labor department at the ministry of human resources and Emiratisation. The employee requested is labor dues and it was agreed to settle the same before the competent labor disputes department. Furthermore, the Employer acknowledged the claimed rights according to their email dated 1/7/2019, sent to the employee. According to the said settlement, the employer agreed to pay the labor dues and they are responsible for full payment of the dues as detailed in the email according to the payment plan.
This was clear acknowledgment by the employer regarding the labor dues. The employer’s acknowledgment is valid according to article 6 of labor law and affirmation that the limitation period has stopped since 1/7/2019. Therefore, a new period started as of 1/7/2020. If the respondent violated their obligations regarding the settlement agreement and the Claimant Filed his complaint on 2/9/2019 before labor department at Ministry of human resources and Emiratisation to claim his rights. So the case was filed within the time limit. If the challenged judgment violated this, it should be reconsidered as it violated and misapplied the law.
The second challenge, the cassation court issued decision cancelling the challenged judgment regarding the order against the adjoined party, the previous owner, to jointly pay with the Claimant. The court dismissed the appeal by the previous owner and affirmed the appellate judgment based on the facts that if changes occur in the form or position of the company, the labor contracts shall continue to be valid and applicable on the employees and the new owner. Furthermore, the new owner jointly with the previous owner shall be liable for a six months period for the obligations arising due to the labor contracts made before such change takes place. After The lapse of the six months period, the labor contract shall continue to be valid and binding upon the new owner only, who will be jointly liable with the previous owner for the employees’ rights. After laps of this period, the previous owner shall be released from his obligations and the new owner will be solely liable.
Accordingly, the papers affirm that the sole establishment, where the employee worked, was sold to the Respondent, the new owner, and the employee filed his case against the new owner to claim his labor dues. On the hearing dated 15/1/2020, the employee requested the court to adjoin the (Seller- Previous Owner) to pay jointly with the new owner the claimed labor dues. The fees prescribed for adjoining the litigant party waspaid. The previous owner and the new owner are jointly liable for the obligations under the labor contract and for payment to the employee’s rights during the previous period. The establishment sale contract was made between the parties on 5/5/2019, so both owners are jointly liable according to article126 of labor law.
The challenged judgment concluded that the Claimant, employee, registered his case against the establishment, new owner, without the previous owner. Therefore, the appellate judgment concluded releasing the adjoined party from jointly paying the claimed amount. Thus the said judgment violated and misapplied the law, so it should be cancelled.