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UAE Anti-Discrimination Law: What You Need To Know.

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:41:00


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In 2019, the UAE and KSA amended their legislation, particularly their labour laws, to include anti-discrimination rules in the workplace. These changes, like anti-discrimination legislation in other jurisdictions, seek to advance particular social policies and prevent specific groups from being excluded from the workforce and general possibilities. These developments are in addition to those occurring elsewhere in the GCC region.


The Legal system of the United Arab Emirates has a lot laws that prohibit discrimination and hatred on the basis of race, religion, sect or ethnic origin. In addition to this there are laws guaranteeing protection of the rights of people of special abilities (with disabilities) and equal pay laws for both male and female. The revisions place a strong emphasis on preventing gender discrimination. As many may be aware, the Legal system of the United Arab Emirates established a Gender Balance Council in 2016, with one of its mandates being to publish a detailed guidebook for companies on how to implement anti-sex and gender discrimination in the workplace. That guidebook was published in September 2017. Recent legislative modifications place such recommendations on a firmer legal footing, with non-compliance potentially resulting in regulatory penalty and successful individual employment claims against the company.[1]

Anti-discrimination and hate law

His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the State, may God protect him, issued Decree Law No. 2 of 2015 on combating discrimination and hatred in July 2015 . The law intentions were to enhance a culture of global tolerance, and to confront manifestations of discrimination and racism. The law prohibits discrimination between people on the basis of religion, sect, creed, race, origin.[2]

Equal pay

The council of ministers approved a law on equal wages and salaries  for both the gender in 2018. Article 32 of the UAE Labour Law 1980  already observed  that the female worker must  be granted a wage equal to that as the man is earning if she were performing the same work.
Federal Law No. 29 of 2006

Federal Law No. 29 OF 2006 protects the rights of people of determination. Article 12 of the law provides: the nation promises individuals with special needs equal opportunities within all educational, vocational training, adult education and continuing education institutions in regular classes or special classes with the availability of curriculum in sign language or Braille and or any other methods as appropriate.

No discrimination against people of determination in public and private sectors

Resolution No. 43 of 2018 in support of the ‘people of determination’ intentions is to support the rights of ‘people of determination’ in the field of employment by enabling access to opportunities in the labour market

The resolution mandates that concerned government institutions safeguard the rights of 'people of determination,' including their ability to work on an equal footing with others and without discrimination.

The resolution emphasised the importance of providing working and health conditions for "people of special abilities," and that their services should not be terminated or referred to retirement due to disability or its occurrence after appointment, unless they reach retirement age or a competent medical committee decides they are unfit to work.

Further, it demands that the private sector should be encouraged to integrate ‘people of determination’ into their institutions and grant them exemptions and privileges.[3]

 Protection of People of Determination from abuse policy

The Legal system of the United Arab Emirates Policy on Protecting Individuals of Determination from Abuse condemns all forms of abuse and neglect towards people of determination. Abuse and neglect means denning individuals of their fundamental right to care, rehabilitation, medical treatment, recreation, and communal inclusion. It also prohibits exploiting such people for material gain and not investing in them.

Law on Domestic Workers

The Federal Law No. 10 of 2017 on Domestic Workers forbids discrimination against domestic workers on the basis of race, religion, gender, political opinion, and national origin or social origin.

Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958

The Legal system of the United Arab Emirates is a party to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination in Employment and Occupation. The agreement mandates members to implement a national policy promoting equality of opportunity and treatment in employment and occupation, with the goal of eradicating all forms of discrimination.


The UAE Constitution guaranteed women's rights and codified the principle of gender equality, ensuring women's access to education, jobs, social and health benefits, and holding government offices. Women, like men, have the same legal position, title claim, access to education, right to practice professions, and right to inherit property.

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