Whenever a dispute arises between employee and employer, anyone of them can raise the issue with labor office. There are many labor offices all around the Saudi Arabia where employees can register complaints against employers. Court listens to the point of view of both the parties, examine the evidences and make the judgment. Both parties will have to agree to the judgment made by the labor office. Although any party can appeal against the decision of the labor office to the higher courts but normally nobody does it. They accept the judgment and act accordingly. It looks good in theory but practically the matter is very complicated. This is why, I want you to consider following matters before reporting your case against employer to labor office.
Matters to Consider before reporting your case against employer to Labor Office
- Know your Rights: Make sure what you are asking for is actually your legal right. It is not always the employer who is on the wrong side. It is very important to know about your rights so that you can claim them or leave them. I think these two articles are very important for each and expatriate living in Saudi Arabia. Recommended: Rights of Employees in Saudi Arabia, Fixed Term and Indefinite Contract under Saudi Labor Law
- Employer can set Huroob Status: Saudi Law gives power to employer to set huroob under your Iqama even if you have registered a case against your employer in Labor office. If at any point of time, police checks your Iqama and finds huroob on it, you will be immediately detained in Saudi Detention Centers. You will be kept there until a final decision is made by the labor office.
- Time Duration of the Proceedings: If you are very lucky and your employer responds back to the summons of the labor office, your case will be resolved in 2 to 3 months. If your case is complicated or employer is not reporting to labor office, it may take as long as 12 months as or sometimes more than that. If employer has set huroob under your Iqama, you can understand it is very difficult to survive that long.
- Immediate Termination: Keep in mind, by registering a case against your employer; you are not showering flowers upon your sponsor. Obviously, it is an act which is going to displease him. You can expect your termination immediately. However, it is strongly recommended not to leave your work unless you get a written notice from your employer terminating you from the job. If you leave the job without this letter, your case will be weakened in labor office.
- Monetary Issues: Cost of Living in Saudi Arabia is high and you cannot survive if you are not earning money. By reporting a case against your employer in labor office, you are actually inviting a session of unemployment. Make sure you have enough funds to survive during all this period. You can also request labor office to give you a temporary permit to work somewhere. But in this way, you can only be engaged in laborious daily wages type jobs.
- Proficiency in Arabic Language: If you are not proficient in speaking and listening to Arabic, you can expect some more troubles on the way. Never expect the government officers to communicate with you in English. It does not mean that you cannot register a complaint against your sponsor. You will have to seek help from someone to register a complaint. Later on, court arranges translator to translate English to Arabic if you are not good in Arabic.
- Last Resort: Try always to resolve the issue with your employer without going to labor office. You should take this step as last resort or last option as you will have to face many harsh consequences. Although it is not legal to say but you can negotiate with him about your rights and leave some portion to avoid legal case proceedings.
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