I know the employment law is a recurring topic for me to write about and for my readers, but I still get a concerning amount of queries and even more employment cases at court. It is very disappointing to see foreign employees not being treated well and being taken advantage of, when they have not done anything wrong. There are amazing employers out there that treat their employees with love and respect as if they are family. I do not want to make anyone fearful, but I want to write about preventive measures that you can take to avoid such issues in the future.
‘Not resigning properly’
Question: I have resigned but I am now being sued for not resigning properly and I do not understand the situation. I clearly remember giving in my resignation. What can I do?
Fajer: Before I can answer your question on what you can do now, I want to talk about what you could have done when you were giving in your resignation. Always make sure of the following:
1. You resignation needs to be signed by both parties.
2. It needs to be stamped.
3. There should be proof of receipt.
4. Do not resign because of pressure – instead, ask for a termination.
You are not being sued for not resigning properly, but probably for not terminating your contract legally, as maybe your contract got renewed. Let me give an example of a client I had last week. He resigned, but he did not do it properly, so his employer turned around and said – you have not resigned and therefore you owe us money till the end of your contract because your contract renewed automatically.
Now if you are being sued because your resignation letter was not drafted properly, this means your employer knows that your termination letter will not hold up in court. Unfortunately and fortunately, companies have a lot more power and are more aware of the legal situations, and have experience in court. Of course, there are many companies out there that do treat their employees with respect and are fair. But it is better that you are aware of your situation, and I suggest regardless of how your employer treats you, always protect yourself.
Now if you are being sued, or more correctly, there is a legal complaint against you at the shuoon (Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor), you need to hire a lawyer. I know lawyers can be expensive, but it is better to do it the right way. Talk to your lawyer about your financial situation and even more importantly what you would like to get out of.
Question: It is a shame that I am being sued when I did not do anything wrong, and I cannot leave the country. I do not understand what are the consequences.
Fajer: It depends on what evidence they have against you, even if it is not genuine. For example, if you do not have proof that you resigned – let us say you resigned via a text message or an email that is no longer there or you do not have access to, or a termination letter that is not signed, then unfortunately, your employer has leverage against you. They can block you from traveling, they can ask you to pay amounts (I have spoken about this) and they can make sure you do not get transferred to any other employer in Kuwait.
I know as a lawyer I am always discussing worst-case scenarios and not entirely positive things, but I want you all to know that there a lot of nice people out there who commit acts of kindness. Please do your research before taking any steps.
For any legal questions, queries or if you need legal assistance, email [email protected]
By Attorney Fajer Ahmed