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Data protection

Entering into an employment contract with an employer means sharing with the employer information that often relates to the privacy of the employee. The Labour Law does not regulate the way employers create, keep and transfer data related to their employees, but it requires employers to maintain records and files related to each employee. This is in line with the absence in the Labour Law of provisions on the protection of privacy and personal rights of employees, and in general with the absence of a law devoted to data protection in the UAE. Apart from a DIFC law on data protection (which only applies within the DIFC), a Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) law on data protection (which only applies within the DHCC) and some generic provisions in the Constitution and Penal Code, there are no legal provisions in the UAE determining how and when data is collected, stored, transferred, used or otherwise processed. There is no regulation on sensitive data and on the possibility of background checks. As a matter of best practice, employers are encouraged to obtain the consent of employees for handling their data or conducting any background checks. The Constitution and the laws of the UAE are generally compliant with the principles of shariah law, which also encourages the protection of people's privacy.