The commitment of an employer to pay medical treatment expenses of his worker injured in a road accident does not prevent him from claiming compensation from the driver who caused the injury.
The employer can also claim compensation from the insurance company that insured the vehicle involved in the road accident, according to new legal principles established by the Dubai Court of Cassation.
Based on these legal principles, the court accepted the appeal of an employer against the verdict of a lower court.
The lower court had refused to force the insurance company to repay the expenses incurred by the employer in the medical treatment of his worker, though the insurance company had insured the car that hit the worker and caused injuries to him.
The Court of Cassation considered the ruling of the Court of Appeal as an error in the application of law.
The Court of Appeal had ruled that medical expenses incurred by the employer for his employee follows from his obligations written in the employment contract.
But the Court of Cassation said the expenses of the employer in the medical treatment of his injured worker is a kind of damage to the employer who is entitled him to claim compensation from the insurance company which insured the car involved in the accident.
A national company has opened a lawsuit against an insurance company demanding Dh212,000 on the grounds that the latter had insured the long vehicle which caused the collision with his company’s truck and led to serious injuries to its driver and complete destruction of the trailer.
The plaintiff claimed Dh140,000 as cost of repairing the trailer, including Dh72,000 as cost of treating the driver and paying salary to him.
The Court of First Instance had ordered the insurance company to Dh90,000 to the plaintiff.
The insurance company appealed but the Court of Appeal rejected the appeal.
The insurer than brought the case before the Court of Cassation which issued the legal principles mentioned above.
Staff injured on duty cannot be fired: Court
An employee who suffers injury while on duty will be entitled to all official benefits while receiving treatment and remains off-duty.
The company has no right to terminate an employee deeming him unfit to work unless the medical report, at the end of treatment period, suggests so, ruled the Dubai Court of Cassation.
The court also clarified that documents from the country where the individuals receive treatment need not be ratified by official bodies there and can be accepted as evidence in UAE courts.
These legal principles were issued by the Court of Cassation, in a case file by an Egyptian engineer seeking Dh571,000 from the company he worked for. He calculated the amount based on his monthly salary of Dh15,000 under a fixed-term contract.
He allegedly suffered an injury while on duty and that required six months of medical treatment. With the company's approval he travelled to Egypt for surgery. On his return he approached Rashid Hospital, which issued a medical report that he suffered eight per cent disability.
But the company not only refused to pay his medical bills but also terminated him without paying him his dues.
The Court of First Instance ordered the company to pay him Dh186,000.
Unhappy with the verdict the engineer moved the Appeals Court, which further reduced the amount to Dh181,000.
Later, he approached the Court of Cassation, which in its ruling spelled out the above legal principles and rejected the appeal by the company. The court said, an employee's relationship with the employer continues even while receiving treatment.
The court also pointed out that the report from Rashid Hospital does not mention that the engineer cannot work.
Ministry warns employers who force workers to sign settlements
The Ministry of Labour will not issue new work permits to companies if there are cases pending against owners who force workers to sign documents stating they received all financial dues.
According to an 'Al Khaleej' report, the ministry will also not allow such owners to open new facilities. However, it will renew labour cards that already exist.
The move aims to ensure the rights of labourers and help them abide by work contracts signed.
The ministry has called on workers to file complaints about employers who force them to sign on financial-receipt documents.
However, the complaints must be filed within 12 months of the documents being signed. Once they receive a complaint, ministry officials will study the case, hear out the employers' version and initiate appropriate legal action only if an amicable settlement is not found.
The Ministry stated that labour cards can be cancelled only if the employer submits documents to prove that all financial dues have been setlled with the respective employee.
All dues even if employee dies outside UAE
If UAE employees happen to die outside the country, then their families are entitled to receive financial dues including gratuity, according to the Ministry of Labour.
In the weekly session, while addressing labour issues, Khalil Khouri, Director of Work Permits, Labour Ministry, said: "If any person were to die outside the UAE, while being legally employed in the country, the financial dues of the deceased as per the employment contract should be handed over to the family."
"Similarly, the labour card of the deceased will be cancelled once the death certificate - duly attested by both the embassy of the country where the person died as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - is presented.
Alternatively, the labour card will be automatically cancelled after six months as per labour laws," Khouri was quoted by 'Al Khaleej' newspaper.
Answering a labour transfer query, Khouri said employees can be transferred to another facility, if the company they were working for is closed. But in such cases, the ministry should be notified of the closure of the company within two months. Following which, the Inspection Department will study the complaint and, if need be, punishment procedures would be initiated against the owner.