Beauty provokes harassment, the law says, but it looks through men’s eyes when deciding what provokes it.Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth (1990)
Derived from the world-famous publication, The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf, a high profiled American philanthropist and women’s rights activist, harassment has been a one of the major issues faced by women across the globe on a daily basis. Women often tend to ignore harassment attempts thrown at them at workplace and public with due fear of losing job or being lampooned by co-workers. In simple terms, Harassment is referred as a set of unethical and unlawful code of conducts performed by a person who harasses the victim verbally or physically causing an immense amount of fear in their victim. Harassment often causes mental problems for such victims and causes break downs if repeated continuously. The United Arab Emirates being one of the safest countries around the globe takes stringent efforts to reduce the number of such cases by imposing hefty fines and punishments. This article intend to provide a brief overview of various laws governing harassment in the United Arab Emirates to our readers and clients.
First and foremost, lets take a look at different types of harassment.
- Discriminatory Harassment – Such harassment is done based on race, cast, sex, religion and disability.
- Physical Harassment – This type harassment is solely based of physical attack on the victim.
- Psychological Harassment – This type of harassment involves acts like isolating someone inside a room or not verbally communicating to the victim in such a way that he is left out from other people.
- Power Harassment – This type of harassment refers about the wrongful usage of power in a corporate hierarchy.
- Sexual harassment – Involves acts such as sending sexual requests, sexual advances or sending adultery contents to the victim.
As per the Article 358, a person who commits an unlawful act like shall be liable for a punishment of imprisonment upto 6 months or more. However, the convict shall face an imprisonment for an additional year if the crime is committed against a girl or boy who is under 15 years of age. Article 359 also mentions the punishment a person can be charged with an imprisonment for a maximum period of one year and/or AED 10,000 fine if done against a female by the means of verbal or physical actions in the public.
Furthermore, as per the article 359 under the article 2 of the Federal Decree law number 15/2020, if a person commits sexual harassment in an excessive manner by which of repeating acts, words or signals then the person shall be liable for imprisonment period of one year and/or a fine of not less than 10,000 AED.
However, if the crime is committed as a group or with possession any type of weapon, then the convict shall be liable for an imprisonment of minimum 2 years and/or a fine of 50,000 AED. If the convict is a foreigner, the aforementioned punishments shall be applied and followed by a deportation after the punishment has been served.
Where can I raise a complain if I have been victim of harassment?
If you are a victim of any type of harassment, you are required to go to the nearest police station and file a complaint related to the harassment with due evidence if you possess. Upon the registration of the complaint, the public prosecution will initiate a thorough investigation and submit the draft of the criminal report to the criminal court for the final verdict.
Where to complaint if my co-worker harasses me at workplace?
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, many women face fear when it comes to reporting harassment attempts at workplace thinking they would lose the job and, in most cases, they often resign no matter how good the job is. That being said, most common type of harassment faced by women at the workplace are receiving of vulgar pictures, messages mocking their physical appearance and so on. Ideally, from a legal perspective if you receive message you are required to immediately contact the Human Resource department of your respective organization and further proceed to block the coworker with immediate effect. According to the Article 120 of the UAE labor law, an employer is legally liable to terminate an employee for violating the provisions mentioned in the article without any prior notice if a criminal judgement has been issued on him/her. Other way to initiate a complaint against a coworker who harass are –
- Complaining at the nearest police station with valid evidence.
- Filing a complaint at the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE). You can call their hot line number at 80060 to get further assistance on how to initiate the complaint.