Anti-discrimination Laws for the UAE’s labor sector


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has established a comprehensive legal framework to combat employment discrimination and harassment, fostering a work environment that prioritizes tolerance, equality, and protection of workers. The primary legislation addressing this issue is the UAE Labor Law, Federal Decree-Law No. (33) of 2021 Regarding the Regulation of Employment Relationships and its amendments. Article 4 of the UAE Labor Law explicitly addresses the principle of equality and non-discrimination in employment.

Discrimination on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion, national or social origin, or because of disability among persons, shall be prohibited, which would weaken the equal opportunities or prejudice equality in getting a job, work, continuing it and having its rights. The discrimination in the works with the same job duties shall be prohibited.

The rules and procedures that will enhance the participation of the state’s citizens in the labor market shall not represent discrimination as per the provisions of this Article.

The UAE has established specific legislation, Federal Decree Law No. 9 of 2022, to regulate the recruitment and employment of domestic workers. In addition to this, the country addresses issues of indecent behavior through its penal code, Federal Decree Law No. 31 of 2021. Articles 407 and 413 of this law outline provisions for dealing with scandalous and disgraceful acts. Article 407 focuses on penalizing offenders found guilty of acts of molestation, while Article 413 specifically addresses cases of sexual harassment. This comprehensive legal framework reflects the UAE’s commitment to addressing and combating various forms of misconduct and ensuring the protection of individuals from indecent behaviors.

Enforcement and Penalties

The UAE recognizes the importance of promoting equal opportunities and has implemented robust employment discrimination laws to protect the rights of its diverse workforce. Private companies take this matter seriously by establishing Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policies within their organizations to proactively prevent issues from arising.

Private sector employees can report discrimination to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) through the MOHRE website, mobile application, or by calling the call center. Should a worker in a free zone experience labor rights violations from their employer, they have the option to submit a complaint to MOHRE on an online service portal dedicated to free zone employees on MOHRE’s website. Government sector employees can report workplace discrimination to the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources (FAHR) through their website or smart application. Both FAHR and MOHRE investigate complaints and take appropriate action against violators. For discrimination or harassment incidents outside of the workplace, the UAE police offer online channels for reporting. If reporting to the police does not yield satisfactory results, individuals have the option to file a lawsuit through the judicial authorities, which provide a fair and impartial platform to address discrimination cases and seek justice and compensation.

The law imposes significant fines ranging from imprisonment of not less than 1 year and/or fines ranging from AED 500,000 to AED 1,000,000 for acts of discrimination. Similar penalties apply to discriminatory acts committed by public employees in the course of their duties.

Promoting Equal Opportunities and Inclusive Workplaces

MOHRE in the UAE has implemented several initiatives aimed at promoting the well-being of workers in the country. These initiatives recognize the importance of a skilled and empowered workforce in driving economic growth and enhancing the overall quality of life for workers. Some of the key initiatives introduced by the UAE include:

  1. MOHRE has launched a Complaints System that allows workers to access information related to their employment rights, contracts, wages, and other important details.
  2. The Permanent Committee for Labour Affairs actively conducts workplace campaigns and community initiatives to improve living and working conditions for workers.
  3. MOHRE has introduced various skills development programs to enhance the capabilities of workers such as vocational training, certifications, and skills upgrading opportunities to improve workers’ employability and career prospects.

Other policies contain measures like equal pay for both genders, training for underrepresented groups, and anti-discrimination programs for people with determination.


Employment discrimination laws in the UAE serve as a crucial foundation for promoting equal opportunities and creating inclusive workplaces. By protecting individuals from discrimination based on their protected characteristics, these laws ensure that all employees have a fair chance to succeed based on their merits. Continued efforts to raise awareness, enforce the laws, and promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace will further strengthen the UAE’s commitment to equality and create a more just society for all.

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