'Arbitrary' dismissal of women employees in Saudi Arabia sparks outrage

'Arbitrary' dismissal of women employees in Saudi Arabia sparks outrage
Five Saudi women employees are demanding an investigation from local authorities into their sudden dismissal from their employer 'in favour of a foreigner'.
2 min read
06 February, 2022
Five Saudi female employees are demanding an investigation into their 'unfair' dismissal from their job [Getty]

A Saudi company has come under fire for dismissing five women employees and appointing a "foreigner" instead, the Saudi daily Al-Watan reported, without clarifying the gender or nationality of the person who assumed their post.

The women, who worked for a health company in the southwestern port city of Jizan, described the decision to sack them as "arbitrary".

The women employees filed a complaint with three local authorities and demanded an investigation over their dismissal and a restoration of their work rights, as well holding the company accountable.

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In their official complaint, the women said that their place of employment committed nine violations, which include "forcing [them] to to conclude a new work contract, and subjecting [them] to a stressful experience, which violated Article 8 of the Labour and Human Resources Regulations".

They said that they were also subjected to violations of Article 20, which concerns work regulations abuses, coercion to resign and harassment, and Article 46, which refers to favouring foreign workers over Saudi ones, as well disrupting the workplace.

The women also accused the company of delaying their salary payments and making them sign papers without knowing what they entailed.

The incident drew criticism from Saudi citizens online, some describing it as "unreasonable". The Arabic hashtag #Dismissal_of_Saudis_and_appointment_of foreigner also trended on Twitter.

Saudi Arabia once had one of the lowest female employment rates in the world, however recent statistics showed that the employment rate increased to 33% by the end of 2020.