By Nizar Kochery/Doha
QUESTION: I work with the sales department of a company and have prepared all its contracts, including credit facilities, with a customer with the permission of the head of the department. The customer’s cheques have, however, got dishonoured and the company deducts my salary against the outstanding dues. On what authority can the company do that? I plan to resign from the company, stating this as reason. The company has issued a letter to me, pointing out the non-competition clause, however. Will it hinder me from joining any other company?
ANSWER: Employees cannot be deemed responsible, by any means, for the bounced cheque issued by a customer. As part of his duty, the employee’s responsibility lies in handing over the cheque to the company only.
The employer may initiate recovery proceedings against debtor through appropriate court and impose travel ban for the signatory of the cheque or the debtor. The company cannot apply any ban on the employee for such unfair reasons.
As long as debtor has issued cheque in the company’s name against the business, deduction from the salesman’s salary or even any further action against him is not legal.
Under Article 43 of the Qatar Labour Law where the work assigned to a worker allows him to become acquainted with the employer’s client or to become familiar with the secrets of his business, the employer may require him to refrain, after the termination of his contract, from competing with him or participating in any enterprise competing with his own.
Such agreement shall be valid only on condition that the agreement is limited, as regards the time, the place and the nature of the business, to the extent necessary to safeguard the employer’s lawful interest. The period of such non-competition shall not exceed two years.
Defect with product supplied
Q: I work as a procurement agent and my colleagues and I distribute many products to companies in Qatar. Last week, we received a legal notice, stating that there is a defect with a product which we supplied in October last year. The purchaser had never raised any defect claim initially. Can he initiate legal action against us five months after delivery?
A: Article 458 of the civil law stipulates that when the purchaser has taken delivery of the thing sold, he shall ascertain its condition as soon as he is able to do so in accordance with common usage.
If he discovers a defect for which the seller is answerable, he must give a reasonable notice thereof to the seller, failing which he will be deemed to have accepted the thing sold.
In the case however of defects that cannot be discovered by means of normal inspection the purchaser shall, upon the discovery of the defect at once give notice thereof to the seller failing which he will forfeit his right to the warranty.
The courts will generally stay proceedings in accordance with this provision.
Q: Our company has a dispute with one of our subcontractors. In the contract, dispute resolutions are through arbitration in Geneva. We have signed the contract without proper care. Will we be allowed to proceed with court case even when arbitration clause in the contract?
A: Under Article 192 of the Civil and Commercial Procedure law, litigants waive their rights to have recourse to the court initially the competent jurisdiction to examine the dispute.
If a dispute arises in respect of the execution of a contact that includes arbitration, and one of its parties brings an action before the competent court, the other party may raise arbitration as an objection to the non-acceptance of the court action.
Accordingly, where there is an arbitration clause in any agreement and a party to that agreement has commenced substantive proceedings in the court, the other party may raise objection on the basis of the arbitration clause.
Payment during the Haj leave
Q: We have received a letter from a resigned employee, claiming leave salary during his Haj leave while working with us. Please explain the Haj leave entitlements.
A: There is no provision in Qatar Labour Laws for paid Haj leave. According to Article 83 of Labour Laws, Muslim workers shall be entitled to leave without pay, not exceeding 20 days to fulfil their obligation to go to pilgrimage once during the period of their service.
The employer shall decide the number of employees who are given Haj special leave every year, depending upon the requirement of workers and giving priority to long-serving employees.
- Please send your questions by e-mail to: [email protected] (Mobile:55813105)
LEGAL SYSTEM IN QATAR
According to Article 770, if the execution proceedings on the property of debtor has not been initiated prior to the formation of the union, the receiver alone shall have the right of execution thereon and the execution process must start within ten days from the date of formation of the union, unless the adjudicator orders postponement of enforcement.
The sale of movable property shall be carried out in a manner determined by the adjudicator.
The sale of immovable property shall take place by public auction under the supervision of the adjudicator and in accordance with the procedures prescribed in the civil and commercial procedures law.
The receiver of the union shall not sell the immovable property by public auction without the supervision of the adjudicator and in accordance with the procedures prescribed in the civil and commercial procedures law.
Nevertheless, the adjudicator may, after obtaining the opinion of the supervisor, authorise the receiver of union to sell the properties by auction.
The receiver of the union shall not sell the bankruptcy assets altogether for a gross amount except after obtaining permission of the adjudicator.
Any interested person may appeal the decision of the adjudicator in respect of the manner of selling the movable property, or permission to sell the immovable property by auction, or permission to sell the assets altogether for a gross amount. The appeal shall result in a stay of execution.
As per Article 772, the receiver of the union shall deposit the proceeds of the sale of the assets of the bankrupt in the court treasury or in a bank specified by the adjudicator, on the day following receipt thereof.
The receiver shall submit a monthly statement on the state of the liquidation and the amounts deposited to the adjudicator. The amount deposited shall not be withdrawn except by the order of adjudicator or by means of a cheque signed by both the adjudicator and the receiver of the union.
The fees and expenses for the bankruptcy administration, and the maintenance payments granted to the bankrupt and his dependents and the amounts payable to the creditors who hold privileges, shall be deducted from the proceeds of the sale of the assets of the bankrupt, and the remainder shall be distributed among the creditors in the proportions to their verified debts.
The share of disputed debts shall be set aside in a special account with banks until a final decision determining such debts.
According to Article 774, the adjudicator shall order distributions to be made to the creditors and shall determine the amount to be distributed, and the receiver of union shall notify the creditors accordingly by registered letter with acknowledgement receipt.
If necessary, the adjudicator shall order publication of the distribution decision in two daily newspapers. If a period of six months has passed from the date of formation of union without liquidation being completed, the receiver of union shall submit to the adjudicator a report on the state of the liquidation and the reasons for delay in completion. The adjudicator shall dispatch such report to the creditors and shall convene them to a meeting for discussing it.
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