The Federal Law No 8, for 1980, on 'Regulation of Labour Relations' commonly referred to as the 'UAE Labour law', states certain specific grounds upon which an employee can be terminated immediately without notice. There are ten such grounds, on the occurrence of which, the employer has the right to immediately terminate the employment contract. One such ground includes instances wherein; the employee has submitted forged certificates or documents. Article 120(1) of the UAE labour law states that 'An employer may dismiss a worker without notice if and only if the worker, assumes a false identity or nationality or submits forged certificates or documents.

If an employee is dismissed under clause 120(1) of the labour, in addition to the immediate termination of the employment contract denying notice period, the employer also has the right to deny the end of service benefits. This right is provided to an employer pursuant to Article 139 (1) of the UAE labour law, which states that 'A worker shall forfeit entitlement to his entire severance pay in any of the following two cases: If he is dismissed from service for any of the reasons specified in Article 120 hereof or if he abandons his employment in order to avoid being dismissed in accordance with that'. In addition, the employer can also pursue criminal action against the employee.

A forgery constitutes the act of copying or imitation of a document and constitutes a punishable offence under the UAE Penal code. Article 216 of the UAE Penal code states, 'Forgery of an instrument is to alter its reality in one of the manners described hereinbelow, so as to cause prejudice, with the intention of substituting the false for the genuine instrument'.  While determining forgery, the Courts will seek to see the intent for which the forged document was being used and also the nature of the forgery itself. Punishment for forgery under UAE penal code: includes, amongst others, imprisonment for a term of ten years and fines.

In February 2021, the Federal national council (FNC) announced that it was approving a draft law that seeks to impose stricter penalties for the use of fake documents. Stricter penalties are included in the new law and can include fine of up to Aed 500,000 and imprisonment of up to 2 years. The excuse of ignorance that, the person was genuinely unaware that the document was fake is not allowed under the new law. Thereby, any person who mistakenly uses a fake degree can be fined up to Aed 30,000/- and can also face imprisonment of up to three months. Employers who accept such fake documents knowingly are also subject to punishment under the new law. The FNC constitutes the advisory representative legislature in the UAE and consists of forty elected members who are tasked with providing review and recommendations for a new law. Once the FNC issues its draft law or amendments to the same, it is then presented to the federal cabinet for approval. Pursuant to the UAE Constitution all draft laws must the subject to the FNC for its review and recommendations.

The UAE authorities are now ever more vigilant to prevent instances of forgery and to convict the offenders. It is seen that in the year 2018 alone, almost one hundred forty fake education documents were detected in the UAE, and the authorities are evoking strict measures to curb this practice by imposing heavy penalties. The rule is simple, do not use fake educational decrees or knowingly accept the same and try to evade detection in the UAE. The charges that can be levied against the use of forged document are many, and if detected, you will be subject to strict punishments under the UAE penal code. There is no particular timeline within which a charge is to be brought for an act of forgery, and if detected, criminal actions can be brought against you. In addition, an employee also stands to lose his employment and can be denied his entire end of service benefits.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.