“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.” – Bill Gates
There is no question that teachers are one of society’s most important pillars, and we are lucky in Kuwait that we have teachers and educators from all over the globe. I have come across teachers from America, New Zealand, the UK, Spain, India, Malawi and many more countries, each bringing to Kuwait their own perspectives and stories to share with us.
I myself was fortunate enough to go to one of Kuwait’s prominent schools and be surrounded by educators that were compassionate and caring, and therefore it is very moving for me to see clients that walk into the law firm with cases where the schools have been unfair and acted illegally. I urge schools to take care of their employees, especially the teachers, as their stress levels can affect their focus and what they teach our children. Please be nice to them.
Fired for pregnancy
Question: I am working as a French teacher in a school, and I was fired because I am pregnant. Is this legal? What can I do about this? The school said teachers do not fall under Kuwait labor law – instead there are laws just for teachers.
Fajer: Teachers in general fall under Kuwait labor law. With that said though, there are bylaws by the Ministry of Social Affairs And Labor specifically for teachers to regulate issues just teachers deal with. But generally, teachers in the private sector need to look to the Kuwait private labor law. Either way, it is unlawful to terminate an employment contract because of pregnancy – this violates major human rights, because women should be allowed to have families and careers simultaneously. File a complaint at the Ministry of Social Affairs And Labor against the school asking for compensation for unrightfully terminating you.
Question: My school has told me that I can come to Kuwait on a tourist visa. Is this true?
Fajer: No. It is untrue. It is illegal to work on a tourist visa. So do not risk it. Instead, ask the school to finalize your visa procedures before you arrive. Unfortunately though from experience, I have come across many schools that have teachers working for them under tourist visas.
Question: If I have been terminated from my school on the spot for something illegal that I have done, could I be evicted from the school’s housing that I have been living in, without notice?
Fajer: This is a touchy question. By law, if you are being evicted, you will need to be notified beforehand. Unfortunately though, since you are staying at the school’s housing, they could evict you. You will need to read the school’s policy and your contract, but generally speaking, yes they could.
Teachers have rewarding yet stressful jobs, so I understand how annoying it can get when they do not have a full understanding of the legal system because it is not accessible. It is important in Kuwait that we change our laws and make it more accessible for both expats and Kuwaitis living here. The law needs to be simple.
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By Attorney Fajer Ahmed