Answer ... The Labour Law protects employees from gender-based discrimination relating to the nature of the job, wages, recruitment, promotions, pay rises, professional training and attire.
The Labour Law is also protective of foreign employees’ rights and grants foreign employees the same rights as Lebanese employees at the termination of their employment, subject to reciprocity in the employee’s country of origin and the employee having obtained a work permit from the Ministry of Labour.
Answer ... The Labour Law affords special protection to juveniles and women, as follows.
Employment of juveniles: The Labour Law protects juveniles by regulating, and in some instances prohibiting, their employment where deemed dangerous or threatening to their health or life.
Juveniles must undergo a medical examination before being employed in order to validate that they are fit for the job. Medical certificates are granted free of charge by the Ministry of Public Health and must be renewed annually.
Moreover, the Labour Law prohibits the employment of juveniles on industrial projects, exhausting work or work that is harmful to their health. It provides a list of such prohibited work, which includes mining, production and use of explosives and production of alcohol.
Juveniles must not work for more than six hours a day, including at least one hour of rest if the daily working hours exceed four continuous hours; and must rest from 7:00pm to 7:00am. They must also be granted a period of rest of at least 13 consecutive hours between each work shift. An employer cannot make a juvenile work overtime, during daily or weekly rest periods, or during the feasts and holidays on which the business is closed.
Employers that breach the provisions of the Labour Law relating to the employment of juveniles are criminally liable.
Employment of women: In general, the Labour Law protects women against gender discrimination relating to the nature of the job, among other things. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Labour Law sets out a list of industries in which the employment of women is prohibited, including mining, production and use of explosives and production of alcohol. Employers that employ women in such activities are criminally liable.
The Labour Law grants a female employee the right to resign from her job when she gets married while still being entitled to severance pay, provided that:
- she has served the employer with due termination notice, as detailed in question 5.2;
- she has been employed with the same employer for over a year; and
- she provides the employer with a marriage certificate.
Answer ... The Labour Law does not explicitly specify the measures to be taken to prevent discrimination in the workforce. The general principle of non-discrimination as discussed in questions 4.1 and 4.2 applies to prohibit employers from undertaking any acts of gender-based discrimination or discrimination in the rights of Lebanese and foreign employees on termination of their employment.
Answer ... The Labour Law does not contain specific provisions on the processing of discrimination claims.
An employee who has suffered discrimination may bring legal proceedings against the employer before the competent arbitration labour council.
Answer ... As mentioned in question 4.4, the law does not set out specific remedies for an employee who has been subject to discrimination. In the absence of specific remedies, the employee may bring legal proceedings against the employer before the competent arbitration labour council.
Any breach by employers of the provisions of the Labour Law is subject to imprisonment and/or payment of a fine.
Answer ... The Labour Law does not contain specific provisions on harassment, bullying and retaliation/victimisation in employment. However, the Labour Law requires employers with at least 15 employees to establish their own internal regulations, which are subject to the approval of the minister of labour. The Labour Law does specify in detail the matters to be included in the internal regulations and the employer is free to include rules (including punishments and sanctions) which it deems necessary to ensure the proper functioning of the company and the safety of employees. These internal regulations could include protections and remedies against harassment, bullying and retaliation/victimisation, among other things.
Furthermore, the Labour Law explicitly empowers the employee to unilaterally terminate the employment contract before the end of its duration and without prior notice if, among other things:
- the employer commits an immoral offence against the employee or any of his or her family members; or
- the employer commits an act of violence against the employee.
In the aforementioned cases, the employee shall be entitled to dismissal compensation as per the applicable law.
In light of the above, it is clear that Lebanon lacks a comprehensive legal framework governing harassment in the workplace – although it has been reported that a number of draft laws tackling this matter have been proposed, but have not as yet been enacted due to opposition at different levels.
In the absence of specific laws and regulations governing harassment (including sexual harassment), bullying and retaliation/victimisation, particularly in the Labour Law, the victim can resort to the general rules (eg, of the Penal Code) to file complaints such as the following:
- Any person who forces another person to have sexual intercourse through violence or the threat thereof shall be punished with imprisonment for at least five years, or seven years where the victim is a minor under 15 years of age (Article 503 of the Penal Code).
- Any person (including an employee) who abuses his or her authority or facilities derived from his or her job to force a minor to have sexual intercourse shall be punished with imprisonment for at least five years (Article 506 of the Penal Code).
- Any person who forces another person, through violence or threats, to commit or endure an indecent act shall be punished with at least four years’ imprisonment (Article 507 of the Penal Code).
- Any person who has indecent physical contact with either a minor between the age of 15 and 18, without his or her consent, or a minor under the age of 15 shall be punished with imprisonment (Article 519 of the Penal Code).