Employment in United Arab Emirates

Al Tamimi & Company

Al Tamimi & Company has a full-service offering and advises a broad range of major international corporations, banks and financial institutions, government organisations and local companies. Practice head Samir Kantaria is an ‘exceptional lawyer‘ with a strong contentious and non-contentious employment practice. Gordon Barr has substantial DIFC court litigation experience and is praised by clients for his ‘pragmatism and diplomacy‘. Ivor McGettigan heads the firm’s employment practice in Abu Dhabi and is the ‘heart and soul‘ of the team.

Practice head(s):

Samir Kantaria

Other key lawyers:

Gordon Barr; Ivor McGettigan

Testimonials

‘Samir Kantaria not only has excellent knowledge of the law but his experience enables him to give the client good, clear pragmatic advice.’

‘Gordon Barr is always available, very responsive and reliable. Friendly, down to earth and very easy to deal with and therefore pleasure to work with. Gives excellent practical unfussy advice. Great insight into the intentions of legislators, analyses risk appropriately and commensurately with the issues at hand.’

‘The team at Tamimi are masters of UAE employment law. They deliver advice that is clear and practical. They provide not just advice on the legal position but also risks associated with different options.’

‘Samir Kantaria is an exceptional lawyer. He provides us with excellent service. He will answer the specific question, but also anticipates the questions that arise from his advice, saving the back and forth. He is highly responsive, and he tailors the level of advice with the specifics of an issue such that if a quick phone call will resolve the issue, he will call but if it is more complex, then we may have receive a letter of advice and have a meeting.’

‘Al Tamimi provide a one stop shop for employment advice across the region. They are a trusted outfit. Professional, efficient and collaborative.’

‘Gordon Barr is an exceptional lawyer. He is acute in his perception of technical matters and sound in his judgment. He is discerning in his approach which is complimented by his pragmatism and diplomacy. He has his ear to the ground when it comes to employment matters in the region and can always be trusted to offer a professional and effective service.’

‘Ivor McGettigan is the heart and soul of this team – as a senior Al Tamimi partner he is able to get all the resources of the firm applied to solve problems quickly.’

‘Ivor understands client needs and is the all-round best in the market.’

Key clients

Astra Zeneca

Intel Corporation Inc.

Kearney

Louis Vuitton

Beiersdorf

Petronas

LinkedIn

Richemont

Microsoft

KPMG

Oracle Corporation

Royal & Sun Alliance

Stellantis

Hyatt International

Burberry

Friends Provident International

Levi Strauss

Cognizant

General Electric

Inditex

Work highlights

  • Assisting BMS with Middle East integration issues following the $74bn acquisition of Celgene.
  • Advising Stellantis in respect of Middle East employment issues arising from the global merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group making Stellantis the third largest automaker globally by revenue.
  • Advising Rockwell and Schlumberger Ltd on the UAE employment aspects of their new worldwide joint venture, Sensia, the oil and gas industry’s first digitally enabled, integrated automation solutions provider.

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP has an established presence in the region and advises on all aspects of employment law, from free zone regulations and Emiratisation through to breaches of employment contracts and employment-related matters on corporate transactions. Rebecca Ford is a ‘standout‘ lawyer and has particular expertise advising clients in the oil and gas, financial services and education sectors. Sara Khoja has a broad employment practice and strengthens the team’s offering with her Arabic and English language skills. Legal director Samantha Ellaby is also noted and is ‘fantastic‘.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Ford; Sara Khoja; Emma Higham

Testimonials

‘The team are very personable and knowledgeable. I feel completely at ease asking for their advice – they feel like an extended part of our in house team.’

‘Samantha Ellaby is fantastic. She provides efficient and commercial advice and is always available to take my calls and offer reassuring advice.’

‘The employment team led by Rebecca Ford is really good in what they do. Their knowledge of employment related matters and capabilities to assist in any dispute cases in both KSA and UAE are fantastic.’

‘Rebecca Ford is a stand out partner.’

Key clients

McAfee

Work highlights

  • Advising McAfee on redundancy and restructuring processes and implementation in both the UAE and the KSA.

Afridi & Angell

Afridi & Angell focuses on employer side representation and typically handles cases that involve wrongful termination and fraudulent activities. Company restructurings and whistleblowing are key areas of focus on the firm’s non-contentious side. Charles Laubach heads the practice and is very ‘practical in his approach‘; many of his clients are in the public, automotive, energy and aviation sectors. Stuart Walker is also noted and advises on both the employer and employee sides of contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Charles Laubach

Other key lawyers:

Stuart Walker; Sulakshana Senanayake

Testimonials

‘The firm is not large but very responsive, knowledgeable and cost-effective.’

‘Charles Laubach is very seasoned, practical in his approach and always available. He brings an American sensibility and responsiveness to the firm, which is not always common in the UAE.’

DLA Piper

DLA Piper‘s Neil Crossley acts as the regional head of employment in the Middle East. Clients praise the team for its ‘depth of knowledge‘ in local law proceedings and cultural nuances. Crossley is ‘solutions focused‘ and has particular expertise in handling cross-border compliance investigations, sensitive workplace issues and changes in management. Iain Skinner is another key individual and has expertise advising clients in the technology, energy and life sciences sectors. Associate Nadia Akhter is also notable.

Practice head(s):

Neil Crossley

Other key lawyers:

Iain Skinner; Nadia Akhter

Testimonials

‘The team are very knowledgeable not only of local law/legal proceedings but also of cultural nuances and considerations that non-local firms would not be familiar with, and this brings great benefit. They also take the time to understand our organisation, values, and what’s important to us and make recommendations aligned with this, whilst also considering the local legal landscape and risk. They are always positive and solutions focussed rather than simply setting out the legal risks and constraints.’

‘Neil is a great partner to our organisation – he’s part of our extended team. He understand our organisation and what’s important to us and always considers this when providing advice and recommendations. He’s solutions focussed, pragmatic, and makes sensible and reasonable recommendations. He is also great fun to work with.’

‘The team provides valuable insights into common and best practices in comparison to minimum legal requirements.’

It is a pleasure to work with Iain and Nadia as they are very professional, prompt in responding, and provide valuable insights into common and best practices.’

‘DLA Piper’s employment practice stands out due to two criteria: depth of knowledge and insights in the region based on practice where they are able to advise not just legal requirements. Secondly, they are able to provide operational advice on how to implement changes bringing in an outside perspective and anecdotes as to what other clients have done in the region.’

‘Neil is very easy to work with and just gets it when it comes to what our overall requirements are as a client.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a global IT and telecoms client in respect of investigation and disciplinary issues relating to an online harassment case.
  • Advised a client in the energy sector in relation to the demerging of two business divisions across a dozen of Middle East and regional territories including Saudi and UAE as well as advising on several hundred staff in advance of potential spin off in the business.
  • Advised two global consultancy firms across all areas of employment law and compliance including design of contracts and policies and mobility and benefits.

Eversheds Sutherland LLP

The employment team at Eversheds Sutherland LLP is praised for its ‘personable‘ and ‘pragmatic‘ approach. Led by firm Abu Dhabi managing partner Geraldine Ahern, the practice represents a number of leading multinationals and has a broad scope of practice that includes business expansion, crisis management, redundancy and more. Ahern also heads the firm’s Middle East commercial offering; recent mandates have involved advising on the DIFC pension reforms. Former co-head Sarah Anderson has now left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Geraldine Ahern

Testimonials

‘The team is personable and available above all else which makes working with them an absolute pleasure! Every matter is responded to with excellent time management, competence, comprehensiveness and practical critique, evidencing a personal understanding of the client’s unique concerns, capacity and commercial objectives.’

Always available, pragmatic, concise and personable! A real pleasure to work with.

‘The team replies promptly and provide comprehensive answers based on our specific requirements.’

‘Eversheds is very competent. I have been working with Eversheds since 2019 and, based on the guidance received during this period, I trust they are a reliable source.’

Hadef & Partners

Hadef & Partners has a ‘highly experienced‘ employment practice that is fully integrated with its dispute resolution offering. The firm has extensive experience advising clients on employment issues and investigations involving employee fraud. Rachel Hill heads the employment team and was promoted to partner in 2021; she is an experienced litigator in the region and assists clients with cases concerning allegedly arbitrary dismissals and breaches of non-compete clauses. Dispute resolution partner Taher Abdeen Ibrahim works closely with the employment team. Senior associate Dilini Loku is also noted and has strong cross-border expertise.

Practice head(s):

Rachel Hill

Other key lawyers:

Taher Abdeen Ibrahim; Rami Omar; Dilini Loku

Testimonials

‘Hadef provides the Company with sound legal advice, they have always steered us in the right direction. Their highly experienced team are very cooperative and efficient, always ready to support when required.’

‘Their knowledge of the UAE judicial system is excellent. Our relationship spans many years and we have no complaints on the services that have provided us thus far.’

Key clients

Google FZ LLC

Adidas Emerging Markets LLC

Tchibo GmbH

Publicis Group

Work highlights

  • Advising a large multinational advertising and public relations group with all their UAE based branches on contentious terminations, employee fraud investigations and complex employee privacy issues.
  • Advising a large multinational speciality food store with around 12,100 employees worldwide to on setting up in the region.
  • Instructed on a retainer basis to advise a large American multinational technology company with all UAE employment related queries which are raised either by the local HR team in the UAE or by any global based Employment Counsel.

KBH Limited

KBH Limited has an extensive employment offering and advises clients on employment policies and contracts, terminations and redundancies, visa and immigration issues and advocacy in employment cases before the DIFC courts. Head of dispute resolution Bushra Ahmed is praised for her ‘very refreshing no nonsense approach‘ and has substantial expertise advising both senior executives and employers. Managing partner DK Singh and Tina Asgarian are also noted. Key changes to the team includes the arrival of senior associate Natasja Pollemans in 2021 from Stephenson Harwood.

Practice head(s):

DK Singh; Bushra Ahmed

Other key lawyers:

Tina Asgarian; Natasja Pollemans

Testimonials

‘The firm’s approach and dedication to getting the right result for the client results in a flexible and collaborative approach to working with the client to fully understand the complexities of the matter at hand which leads to an outstanding end product. The approach to billing is accommodating and there is an understanding approach and desire to reach a mutually beneficial methodology to billing which is empathic to the client’s financial position. Having visited the firm’s office’s on a number of occasions, there appears to be a diverse range of staff operating in a friendly environment.’

‘On the whole the firm has a very friendly and professional but informal approach which is welcoming of clients who may be immersed in legal problems. I would highlight two individuals in respect of my work, both of whom I would rate as excellent: Bushra Ahmed and Natasja Pollemans.’

Bushra Ahmed has a very refreshing no nonsense approach. The advice provided is direct and concise with no unnecessary padding. The has an excellent strategic approach to case management and despite her extensive experience, is always open to hearing and taking on board suggestions from the client where appropriate. She has an excellent command of the practice areas I have worked with her on and has found some novel solutions within the framework of the law which other lawyers may have missed.’

Natasja Pollemans is a diligent client focused lawyer who is capable of producing very high quality work in extremely short turn around times. She shows a real desire to go the extra mile to get the right result for her client and can very quickly grasp the fact and produce elegant legal solutions when required.’

‘It is very useful to be able to work with a firm in the UAE with individuals who understand UK law – and who are not conflicted from acting for senior executives.’

‘Bushra Ahmed is an excellent, knowledgeable, hardworking lawyer who is not afraid to use novel or difficult arguments on behalf of her clients. Equally she is not afraid to stand up to her clients and ensure they take a reasonable, pragmatic approach when that is in their best interests.’

Key clients

GMG (Dubai) Limited

Opeyemi Olayanju

Work highlights

  • Advised GMG (Brokers) Limited (GMG), a company incorporated in the UK in respect of an employment tribunal claim in the UK arising out of a Facilities and Profit Share Agreement between MLM Investment Management Limited (MLM) and GMG.
  • Successfully represented the Defendants, GMG (Dubai) Limited and a private individual in relation to the DIFC proceedings in a claim for injunctive relief restricting the individual from working for GMG based on terms in the employment contract relating to notice period (12 months) and restrictive covenants (6 months).

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP has a ‘first class‘ employment practice that is led by Luke Tapp who advises on all aspects of labour law in the DIFC, ADGM and the onshore UAE. On the non-contentious side, instructions typically involve employment contracts and handbooks, restructuring and senior executive terminations. Senior associate Ruth Stephen is also noted and has a particular focus on work touching the energy, oil and gas sectors.

Practice head(s):

Luke Tapp

Other key lawyers:

Ruth Stephen

Testimonials

‘The team is diverse but sync extremely well together. Luke Tapp’s leadership is cohesive and supportive and this most definitely shows in the work flow.’

‘I have worked with Luke and Ruth and must say they are so approachable and down to earth but still highly professional without compromising quality.’

‘The support from Luke Tapp and Ruth Stephen has always been first class. There when you need them and pragmatic business focused advice’

‘Luke and Ruth’s willingness to always participate in training sessions and share their knowledge is one of the main things that makes their practice unique. Not a lot of lawyers will take the time to share their knowledge. I personally learn a lot from them and they are absolutely wonderful people to work with. Very approachable.’

‘From our first contact with Pinsent Masons we were pleasantly surprised by their availability and responsiveness. Compared to a lot of their peers, we were made to feel important, even if we are a small entity. We received first class service and advice and the turnaround time on our questions was extremely quick, we were able to address matters without delay and on point at all times. They are very well versed in employment law within the DIFC, which is the only instance for which we have used them to date. They know the precedents and when to site them and how to build a strong strategy. Being part of the DIFC academy they also run a lot of trainings, which are well structured, informative and very helpful to navigate the employment relationship in the DIFC. They take the time for all participants and answer the questions, whether that be during the training or afterwards. Which is rather exceptional.’

‘Both Luke Tapp, head of the Employment practice, and Ruth Stephen, Senior Associate, are our contacts at the firm. They are extremely responsive, they will always make sure to acknowledge any email communication they receive and revert in the shortest time possible. They will give detailed and comprehensive advice and/or strategies to follow. We have been working with both for little over a year and are very pleased with the relationship that we have established. We feel valued as customers, and highly recommend both.’

‘The team is very helpful, provide their services in a timely manner. Very professional team, had a great experience with them and will definitely recommend them.’

‘Luke Tapp is our direct contact in the employment team. He has the breadth and depth of experience that clients need in difficult cases. He is responsive and practical as well as having excellent knowledge in law. He is always ready for providing efficient and prompt guidance and open for calls and quick updates.’

‘The level of knowledge, understanding and willingness to be as responsive as necessary in a fast moving environment like ours is what we value most. Being able to access essential advice swiftly and efficiently in this way assists us in supporting people and managing risk effectively.’

‘In addition to the core underlying knowledge and professionalism referred to above, the team demonstrate a genuine care, concern and professional interest in the wider success of our organisation and establishing ourselves in the UAE.’

Key clients

FTI Consulting

DMCC

University of Birmingham

Diageo

Coface

Tier 1 Construction Group

Major concrete contractor in the UAE – Kuwaiti-owned group

IMG

Major Travel Agency

Major Financial Services client – “Project Falcon”

Work highlights

  • Advised FTI Consulting on all the employment and HR aspects of the acquisition of an international business which had operations in the Dubai International Financial Free Zone, the Dubai Creative Cluster Authority Free Zone and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • Worked closely with the DMCC free zone, the largest economic free zone within the UAE, on a number of matters over past 12 months including key employment matters and documentation.
  • Assisted major financial regulatory client with its investigation into several complaints of workplace harassment, discrimination, whistleblowing and fraud.

Squire Patton Boggs

Squire Patton Boggs has an experienced cross-border employment practice and advises a broad range of clients. Workplace harassment investigations are a key area of focus for the firm. Sarah Lawrence heads the firm’s Middle East employment practice and has been instrumental in the firm’s growth in the employment space. Associate Habib Saeed joined the practice in 2020 and specialises in employment law and data protection issues.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Lawrence

Other key lawyers:

Habib Saeed

Key clients

AXA Insurance (Gulf) BDC

Bacardi Plc

The Boeing Company

Collins Aerospace Inc.

Day & Zimmermann

Etisalat

Export Trading Group

Michael Page/Page Group

Raytheon Technologies

Smiths Group

Turner Broadcasting/CNN

Warner Media

Wood Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Raytheon Technologies on several multi-jurisdictional labour and employment projects arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Advising ETC Group on numerous data protection compliance matters, assessing its personal data processing operations in its capacity as an employer and cross-border transfers of personal data, ensuring its DIFC and Netherlands branches are compliant with the recently enforced DIFC Data Protection Law No. 5 of 2020 and the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679, respectively.
  • Advising a leading construction and engineering company on all employment law aspects enabling the client to service various key contracts across the UAE, Kuwait, Jordan and various other MENA jurisdictions.

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood has a ‘commercially astute‘ employment team with a ‘genuine understanding‘ of the local laws and proceedings. The team advises across the full range of contentious and non-contentious employment issues including international data protection and privacy, employee benefits and incentives, pensions and immigration. Kiersten Lucas heads the practice and advises clients in the financial services, pharmaceutical, energy and natural resources sectors. Senior associate Emily Aryeetey has an experienced cross-border practice and has a ‘razor-sharp understanding of local employment laws‘.

Practice head(s):

Kiersten Lucas

Other key lawyers:

Emily Aryeetay

Testimonials

‘This team has exceptional knowledge, and this shows in their work product. Their tremendous experience consistently puts them in a position to give the client the best chance of reaching an advantageous outcome. This is often done through creative means, and I believe this sets them apart from most of the other firms in the industry. Their communication is also a strong suit of theirs. They communicate quickly, efficiently, clearly, and in a manner that is easy for anyone to digest. Collaborating and working with them is not only a good investment from a results perspective, but is also a pleasure from a personality perspective.’

‘Emily Aryeetey is one of the shining stars in the legal sector in the Middle East region. Ever since I first started doing work with her, I have enjoyed every moment of it. Beyond her fantastic personality, she understands the client and the client’s needs very well. She understands that achieving the best results take creativity. Not only does she offer this, but she offers a tremendous ability to explain the proposed solutions so that they can be understood, digested, and agreeable. She is very reliable, and I have found that her approach leads to consistent positive results, while also diminishing the fees and time necessary to get to the solution.’

Great mix of international and bilingual (English/Arabic etc) lawyers across disputes and regular advisory work. They’re all very good and well-regarded lawyers. International firm experience and standards across the board but with genuine understanding of local law/processes and extremely well-connected. They obviously have real strength in depth – it’s a very experienced and commercially astute team and, unlike many firms, they are genuinely specialists and are focused 100% on employment law issues. Their Employment Team is the full package.’

My go-to person is Emily Aryeetey, who is one of the leading members of the team, and in the market generally. She gives excellent advice. She’s got the international expertise plus razor-sharp understanding of local employment laws and then some – she’s extremely knowledgeable about regulatory issues, immigration, data protection, and everything else coming down the track around the edges of employment law. She gets into case details at lightening speed and is amazing at quickly finding a plan of action that works with the way that things are done in the business. That commercial and cultural understanding is invaluable. Emily is a consummate professional, who will always go the extra mile, but also manages to be totally approachable and genuinely one of the loveliest lawyers to deal with.’

Key clients

Amplify Marketing Agency DMCC

Arcus Infrastructure Partners

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP.

Galderma International SAS / Galderma Middle East FZ LLC

Grupo Forma 5

Litasco Middle East DMCC

Peacock Group Holdings

Shalina Resources Limited / Shalina Resources Limited (Branch), DMCC / Chemical Africa SA

TSA Group

Uberbinder, Inc / Uberbinder Limited

Access Hire

Accord Healthcare MENA

ADNOC

Aggreko

AES International

Al Tayer Group

Atlas Mara Banking Group

Axiom SL Group, Inc

Bank of China

Cigna Insurance Middle East

Cleartrip

deVere Group

Edenhurst Capital

Hamburg Sud

Hanover Communications

Inspired Education Group

LGT Group

LOC Group (London Offshore Consultants)

M&C Saatchi

Mizuho Group

Quantum Global Solutions

Robert Walters

Sentinel Commodities DMCC

TMF Group

National Oilwell Varco

Work highlights

  • Advising the owners of TSA Group, a global hotel and hospitality consultancy that operates in over 50 countries, on the employment aspects of its sale to Florida-based Frontline Performance Group, a strategic hospitality software and performance consultancy.
  • Acting for one of the world’s leading independent financial advisory organisations, with more than $10bn under advice from over 80,000 clients in 100 countries, defending a number of multi-jurisdictional employment disputes involving various employment dispute forums.
  • Acting for a private individual client who was formerly employed at an international law firm in relation to a discrimination claim in the DIFC under the new DIFC Employment Law (DIFC Law No. 2 of 2019), which came into force on 28 August 2019.

Dentons

Dentons always goes ‘the extra mile‘ and advises on federal UAE, ADGM and DIFC labour laws and regulations. Practice head Shiraz Sethi has extensive expertise advising on whistleblowing, fraud, forgery and breaches of the UAE penal code. Catherine Beckett is another key name to mention. Legal manager Ali Al Assaad is also noted and focuses on employment disputes before the Arabic-language courts.

Practice head(s):

Shiraz Sethi

Other key lawyers:

Catherine Beckett; Ali Al Assaad

Testimonials

‘Dentons provides an excellent service, they respond quickly to all requests and provide prompt, good quality advice after going the extra mile to obtain the required information.’

‘Shiraz Sethi is the main contact from the employment team – Shiraz provides top quality, accurate, fast advice and always takes the extra step to understand his client, the business and the relevant individuals. Shiraz also makes himself available when required and always takes the required time to provide advice as and when needed.’

‘I believe that the cross collaboration between the employment, compliance investigations and criminal team is outstanding. My experience is limited to the UAE/ Middle East region.’

‘Sethi Shiraz is sharp, quick and comprehensive.’

‘Their knowledge of the market and consistent, concise updates on new laws and regulations are extremely useful.’

‘Shiraz is our trusted advisor. He makes himself available around the clock to advise.’

‘Since January, we have worked with Dentons on a complicated HR disciplinary matter relating to COVID vaccinations. Dentons were very supportive through the process, they were available to talk to us at short notice and provided very detailed and clear advice in a very timely manner. This helped enable us to conclude the process from start to finish in less than two weeks despite the complexity. We do not have a HR presence on the ground in Dubai and they were able to give us insights into the local market to help us establish what action needed to be taken.’

‘I have been particularly impressed with Shiraz Sethi. He supported our firm on matters whilst at his previous firm and given our firm’s comfort levels with his advice, we were keen to maintain the relationship when he moved to Dentons. As we do not have a HR presence on the ground in Dubai, Shiraz has almost become an extension of our HR arm and his advice on how to manage HR matters from a practical perspective is invaluable. He understands our business very well so is able to provide us with the commercial advice that we are after. His pragmatic approach and commerciality has led to him becoming our go to person for any complicated HR issues that we are dealing with in Dubai.’

‘Shiraz Sethi and Ali Al Assaad have been greatly supportive in addressing time-sensitive matters and providing adequate advice.’

Key clients

Wizz Air

Arbuthnot Latham

Muthmainur Rahman

ABB Industries LCC

Rotana Hotel Management Corporation PJSC

Flagship Events LLC

Innovative Systems Inc

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

Gogo

Inmarsat Solutions BV

The Kraft Heinz Company

Work highlights

  • Advised Muthmainur Rahman (an employee) on his exit from FTI Consulting Gulf Limited in Dubai and legal proceedings that were initiated by FTI before the DIFC Court of First Instance.
  • Advised Wizz Air European-based legal team and UAE-based commercial and HR team on all employment matters since their establishment in the UAE of their first overseas hub in 2020.
  • Advising on the employment aspects of Modon’s sale of certain business and assets to Aldar, which included the employee transfer of most of the workforce.

Habib Al Mulla & Partners, a member firm of Baker & McKenzie International

Habib Al Mulla & Partners, a member firm of Baker & McKenzie International has a full service offering and showcases substantial UAE court experience with knowledge of the local, DIFC and ADGM court proceedings. Joanna Matthews-Taylor heads the practice and is frequently instructed on matters involving employee transfers, workforce reductions and compliance investigations. The employment team is fully integrated with the firm’s UAE litigation offering, which is led by Mohamed El Khatib.

Practice head(s):

Joanna Matthews-Taylor

Other key lawyers:

Mohamed El Khatib

Key clients

KKR

Work highlights

  • Advising KKR on the local employment aspects of the global acquisition of a 60% interest in the professional beauty business of Coty, including the Wella Retail Hair business, the Wella Professional Hair business, OPI professional nail care business, and GHD hair straightners/hair styling business.

K&L Gates

The employment team at K&L Gates has ‘excellent technical understanding‘ in relation to compliance with the local employment regime. Clients describe the practice as ‘efficient and reliable‘ and has a full service offering that covers both contentious and non-contentious employment issues. Nazanin Aleyaseen heads the practice and has particular expertise in advising on internal investigations into allegations of fraud and misconduct; she is ‘a powerhouse of legal knowledge‘ and has extensive experience litigating before the DIFC courts.

Practice head(s):

Nazanin Aleyaseen

Other key lawyers:

Mohammed Rwashdeh

Testimonials

‘Very efficient and reliable team. Requests are always treated very promptly with a great quality.’

‘The service is provided with a very quick turnaround, even on weekends and holidays. The quality and precision of the advice is remarkable.’

‘Excellent technical understanding combined with commercial understanding. Great people to deal with; reasonable costs, particularly for the quality of advice and availability of the team.’

‘Nazanin Aleyaseen is a powerhouse of legal knowledge, and great to work with. She manages to keep sight of the big picture whilst maintaining an exceptional eye to detail.’

Key clients

Amadeus IT System SA

Sinch AB (publ)

Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard‘s Ben Brown is the firm’s go to contact for employment matters in the UAE. He advises clients in a broad range of sectors from technology and transport, to financial services and real estate. Gorvinder Pannu is another key individual to note and has an experienced cross-border employment practice.

Practice head(s):

Ben Brown; Gorvinder Pannu

Testimonials

The employment partner Ben Brown, who I have been dealing with, combines excellent legal knowledge with very good responsiveness. He doesn’t hesitate to use outside council if it is either more cost effective or better from a point of view of legal knowledge.’

Ben Brown has a passion for his particular legal speciality or practice area which is employment law. He masters excellence as an expert, which fosters a high level of commitment to his work. He also understands his clients’ objectives, and advocate on that basis (not on the law in isolation).

Key clients

British Airways

AVEVA

Informa

AECOM

Coty

Cognita

Schneider Electric Software

The Industrial Group

Ethos Energy

Work highlights

  • Representing The Industrial Group in the longest running employment dispute in the DIFC Courts: The Industrial Group Ltd v Abdelazim El Shikh El Fadil Hamid (CFI-029-2018).
  • Advising British Airways on a reorganisation of its employment resources in Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman following the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Advised AVEVA Plc on an investigation into numerous whistleblowing allegations made by a former employee.

Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird‘s UAE employment practice is fully integrated with its dispute resolution, intellectual property and data privacy services. Johannes Eisser is the primary point of contact and focuses his practice on advising employers. Managing partner Anders Nilsson is another key individual to mention. Senior associate Surabhi Singhi is ‘commercial and technically able‘, particularly in relation to employment aspects of corporate transactions.

Practice head(s):

Johannes Eisser

Other key lawyers:

Anders Nilsson; Surabhi Singhi

Testimonials

‘Good knowledge of local processes, very responsive and easy to deal with.’

‘Our relationship person is Surabhi Singhi who is a stand-out associate for us being very responsive, commercial and technically able.’

Key clients

Rackspace Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Rackspace Limited, a multinational company engaged in providing cloud management services on a range of operational and employment matters.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP‘s employment practice in the Middle East is led by of counsel Benjamin Hopps. He has a broad contentious and non-contentious practice and advises clients in the financial services, construction, energy, infrastructure and real estate sectors. Managing partner Stuart Paterson has a strong dispute resolution background and specialises in matters involving corporate crime, investigations and corruption.

Practice head(s):

Benjamin Hopps; Stuart Paterson

Key clients

Toll Global Forwarding

Fieldcore Services

Oliver Wyman

Uber

Jefferies

Mizuho Gulf Capital Partners

State Government of Victoria, Australia

Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP‘s employment practice handles both contentious and non-contentious work. The team has particular expertise in employee investigations, terminations and regulatory advice. Rebecca Kelly heads the practice and has in-depth knowledge of the healthcare sector, and Mark Gilligan in Abu Dhabi is also notable.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Kelly

Other key lawyers:

Mark Gilligan; Laura Shortall

PwC Legal Middle East

Natalie Jones has been instrumental in the growth of PwC Legal Middle East‘s employment practice in the UAE. Key areas of expertise includes pensions, health and safety and employee benefits. Natalie advises employers on the full range of employment law and has particular experience handling the employment-related aspects of cross-border corporate transactions.

Practice head(s):

Natalie Jones

Key clients

BrF

HealthBay Clinics

Nanostone Water

The Mauritius Commercial Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised a multinational investment bank on historic non-compliance with local pension requirements and significantly reduced financial liability.
  • Advised an international airline on the reduction of its headcount across the region.
  • Advised a multinational enterprise software company on the closure and de-registration of its UAE operations.