Labor courts urged to use bilingual lawyers

Labor courts urged to use bilingual lawyers
Updated 30 January 2014

Labor courts urged to use bilingual lawyers

Labor courts urged to use bilingual lawyers

The Kingdom has set up special labor courts that deal with labor-related issues between expatriates and employers and operate under the Ministry of Justice, according to Hattab Al-Anazi, Labor Ministry spokesperson.
Many expatriates have wondered if these labor courts provide expat employees with lawyers who speak their language.
“Labor courts do provide translators, but not lawyers, who speak the same language as expatriates,” said Alaa Adnan Yamani, lawyer and managing partner at the law firm of Yamani, Jamjoom & Baroom. “The employee must hire his own lawyer.”
“When an employee files a complaint against his employer, the first step is they go to a place called the mediation office. Then, an official from the labor office tries to find a common ground between employer and employee. If there is an amicable solution, then they will settle. Otherwise, the office will submit the files to the Labor Committee for Settlement of Labor Disputes.”
Yamani explained that the committee is an administrative committee where they solve labor-related issues for employees. “It would be a very good idea to have bilingual lawyers, but it would be difficult to have lawyers who could speak all those expatriates’ languages. Of course, knowing how to communicate in English would be an additional advantage. But then again, it’s the employee who hires the lawyers. The labor office or courts don’t provide any lawyers.”
“If some cases, if they find it difficult to communicate with the lawyers. The employees might have to call a translator, especially if the employee speaks neither Arabic nor English,” said Yamani. “All legal procedures in the kingdom are done in Arabic, from the judge to the lawyers.”
Yamani added that the government is enacting many laws that protect the rights of employees in general. “That includes both national and expatriate employees. There is no discrimination between expatriates and national employees in terms of labor laws. The laws apply to everyone and provide decent rights for everyone.”
According to earlier reports, legal experts stated that labor courts are under the supervision of the Ministry of Justice and are synced with standard regular jurisprudence systems, whose verdicts and decisions are implemented mandatorily. Judges are appointed by the Ministry of Justice to expedite hearings.
Workers often file complaints that employers are not implementing labor court decisions or orders, as the court lacks true judicial authority.
The Ministry of Labor recently allowed employees to lodge their complaints online on the ministry’s website.
The webpage states that no complaints would be accepted unless the complainer’s full name, address, ID number and issuance entity are mentioned on their complaints.
According to the Council of Ministers, presenters of false accusations and barred actions will be referred to court.
The link to the ‘complaints’ page on the Ministry of Labor website can be found at: http://portal.mol.gov.sa/en/pages/complaints.aspx