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Monitoring employee under UAE law

Possibly most well-known data leaks are perpetrated by insiders. These insiders are none other than the employees of the company. Most employers, with an intention to resolve the issues of data leakage, deploy monitoring and surveillance techniques to critically examine the activities undertaken by employees of the company. However, it does sound like breach of privacy, well you should read this article by Corporate Lawyers of Dubai to understand whether or not monitoring employees in UAE is a breach of privacy. 

There are different legitimate issues that are implanted in working environment monitoring and surveillance. For the most part, there are two fundamental ways of thinking that exist on this topic. From one perspective there are those that contend that employers or owners are the proprietors of the computers, assets and resources and they accordingly reserve a privilege to screen how their property is being utilized. On the other hand there are those that contend that employee’s privacy rights shall be considered before the ownership rights of the employer. 

Discussing about the technology enabling the employers to monitor their employees when at workplace, there are multiple tools available for the employers to scrutinize the activities of the employees. However, the significant question is whether such monitoring or surveillance is legal under UAE laws. The UAE doesn’t have any explicit law that directs the privilege of businesses to monitor employees, albeit numerous provisions entailed in existing laws and guidelines in the UAE will affect how representatives can be administered by their employers. In addition, ADGM and DIFC has issued internal laws and regulations to protect the personal information of employees working in ADGM and DIFC or in companies registered in ADGM or DIFC. 

Furthermore, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE) is the supervisor authority for governing employer and employee relationship in the country. Nevertheless, the authority has not issued any pertinent guidelines allowing or not allowing the employers to monitor the activities of the employees. Additionally, considering the requirements of Federal Cybercrime Law, it is forbidden to record anyone’s telephonic conversation without the consent of the other person. Therefore, it is evident that even though the country has not issued any guidelines pertaining to monitoring of the employees, employers must take prior consent of the employees, in the event they wish to install monitoring tools in office computers. 

A general rule suggests that companies reserve the option to screen and access the organization’s property which incorporate email of employees, gadgets, for example, mobiles, workstations, or tablets gave that: 

  • the workers are made mindful of this right; and 
  • the motivation behind getting to and checking the messages is carefully identified with work and not to private and family matters.

It is apparent that the email server belongs to the assets of the company which suggests that the company has full right to access the emails of all the employees. Yet, it is still advised to all employers to inform the employees of the company their rights and company’s intention to monitor the emails of the employees. In short, even though the country does not have specific laws regarding monitoring the employees of the company, yet the employers are obliged to seek confirmation or inform the employees prior to installing any monitoring tools. 

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