Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 June 2019

UAE legal Q&As: are company drivers obliged to pay traffic fines?

A reader asks if an employee can force a driver to pay a traffic fine and another asks for advice on how to respond to an absconding case filed against them

If a reason beyond my power, such as being in jail, causes me to miss work for seven consecutive days and my employer is aware of the reason for my absence but still files an absconding case against me, before terminating my services, what rights do I have? Can I sue my employer?

According to UAE law, an employer cannot file an absconding case if the employee has already notified them of their absence and the reason for it.

To file an absconding case application, supporting documents must also be submitted. These include communication between the employee and employer — such as email’s or phone calls — which must prove that the employer has investigated the employee’s absence.

The employee has the right to sue the employer on a civil compensation claim, supported with evidence regarding the damages the employee sustained as a result of the absconding case. An absconding case will usually lead to the issue of an arrest order against the employee. If the arrest is carried out on the grounds of a false absconding request, the employee can sue their employer.

In addition to the civil route, the employee will have the right to sue the employer under the UAE Federal Law No. 3 / 198, of the Penal Code, which is the criminal route, and would highly support the civil case if the employer was convicted legally by a final court judgment.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation will also impose serious penalties and charges on the employer for producing a false absconding case and in bad faith against the employee.

Is it legal for an employer to deduct the salary of a driver because of a traffic fine the driver is responsible for?

This will depend on the employment contract that reflects the employer’s right and the driver’s obligation when facing a traffic fine. The employer has the right to process a deduction unless the employee has raised an objection against the fine, which shall be investigated by police.

The deduction cannot be imposed on the driver without notifying them in writing of the charges against them and without allowing the driver to defend themselves. The employer should also be flexible if deducting the fine from the driver’s salary if their employee has a low salary, allowing the driver to pay the fine in instalments.

Section six of the UAE Labour law, Federal Law no. 8 of 1980, stipulates many conditions under the “Disciplinary rules” where the employer will have the right to impose penalties on the employee when committing an offence or breach to the employment contract. The driver’s main duty is to drive the employer’s car carefully and obey the traffic rules so to avoid any fines or accidents.

If you have a question for our lawyer, please email it to newsdesk@thenational.ae with the subject line 'Know the law'.

Updated: March 2, 2019 01:55 PM

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