Can a company retain employee’s passport?
January 19 2019 12:01 AM
Legal Helpline
Legal Helpline

Question: The Passports of all our company employees are with the HR department. Is this legal? One of our colleagues asked for the passport to be returned to him and company returned the same. After one week, the HR issued a termination notice to him. It is understood that the termination of his service was because he asked for his passport. Please advise the legal rights of employer in holding the passports of employees. 

HJ, Doha

Answer: Confiscation of employee passport by the Employer or its representative is not legal as per law. As per Article 8 of the Entry, Exit and Residence law, the employer shall return the passport or travel document to the employee after completion of permit procedures or renewal, unless the employee requests in writing that the employer shall retain the passport or travel document provided that such passport or travel document should be returned to the employee upon request. In the event of breach of this provision, the violator shall be subject to fine not exceeding QR25,000. 

Transfer of shares
to partners
Q: I am enjoying my retirement life in home country after 15 years of service in a government department in Qatar. I own shares in a WLL company in Qatar. Now, I am not in a condition to travel. I could not involve myself in company decisions and I don’t want to bear the liability in such case. Is it possible to transfer the shares to partners or any interested parties without my presence? What is the procedure for the same? Please guide. 

LS, Doha

A:In order to transfer the shares in a company, prepare a special power of attorney authorising anyone in Qatar to sell the shares. The power of attorney should specifically state the purpose and it should include all relevant details to identify the shares in the company. The power of attorney prepared outside Qatar for use in Qatar requires to be notarised, attested, and consularised to the level of the Qatari embassy in the country of origin, before it is re-attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Qatar. 

Request for court 
hearing in English

Q: Our company started operations in Qatar a few years back and now, there are some legal cases filed against our company. We received notice in Arabic from the court stating that the hearing of the case is scheduled for next month. We discussed the issue with the lawyer but we could not afford the legal charges at this moment. Is it possible for the manager to represent company in court even if he is not fluent in Arabic? Can we request for conducting the hearing in English? Please advise.

KS, Doha

A: A Qatari lawyer authorised by the company or an authorised signatory of the company can represent the company before the Court for the cases. The courts will hear evidence given by non-Arabic speakers and witnesses through an interpreter. Arabic is the official language in the courts and the submissions before the court should be in Arabic. If the documents are not in Arabic, it is required to translate the documents into Arabic. 

Can companies hold
end of service benefits?

Q: I am working in a private company in Qatar since 2013. Following the law liberalising the procedures for transfer of employment, our company management has introduced a new policy in relation to resignation. The company has right to hold the end-of-service benefits if the employee terminates the employment contract and such resignation is not acceptable for the company to grant the benefits. Can the company hold the benefits in the light of policy? Is acceptance of resignation mandatory according to the law in Qatar? What is the legal validity of such a policy? Please advise. 
SJ, Doha

A: The company policy on the resignation is not legally valid. The acceptance by the employer is not required and the employee shall be entitled to all his rights, including salaries and labour entitlements or other benefits. Any condition contrary to the Labour Law provisions on minimum entitlements shall be null and void, unless they are more beneficial to the Employee. Any release, compromise or waiver of the entitlements prescribed for the worker by the Labour law shall be deemed void. Employer is duty bound to repatriate the employee on termination of the employment contract. Regarding termination of employment contract, any of the parties may terminate the contract by notifying the other as stipulated under Article 49 of the Labour Law. 

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