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Sara Khoja

Partner

People

Sara Khoja

Sara Khoja

Partner

Full Profile

Sara joined the Dubai office in January 2008 establishing the employment team. She is experienced in advising multinational clients and large regional conglomerates on their MEA regional employment issues (particularly in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), advising on multi-jurisdictional projects such as restructures, large scale implementation of new employment policies and frameworks as well as large corporate reorganisations and integration projects following a merger or acquisition. 

She advises extensively on Saudisation and other workforce nationalisation initiatives and, regulatory compliance.  Her practice also includes advising on employee mobility and operating corporate hubs in the context of MEA wide operations (including secondments into Africa).

Sara’s publications include UAE and KSA chapters for Kluwer International’s Labour and Employment Compliance Handbook and, Corporate Immigration (UAE Chapter). She provides extensive training for managers and HR personnel directly for clients and also through a number of training organisations such as CIPD and JSB.

Experience
  • Advising healthcare sector employers in MEA on regulatory compliance, drafting employment contracts, relationships with distributors and employee arrangements as well as immigration and employment compliance.
  • Advising employers operating in various sectors, including oil and gas, healthcare, construction, manufacturing, TMT, and insurance on compliance with Saudisation (Nitiqat and other regulations), the function of the HRDF, Qiwa and immigration regulations.
  • Carrying out investigations into employee breaches and misconduct, as well as advising on actioning the conclusions of any investigation including potential reports to the authorities and termination of employment.
  • Providing US based multinational companies in technology and telecommunications industry advice across the GCC on labour law and social security compliance regarding international secondments and temporary work.
  • Advising an international accounting firm on the restructure of its workforce, including introducing reduced hours, sabbaticals, change from full time to part time employment and a reduction in salary and benefits.
  • Advising international shipping and yachting companies on the International Labour Organisation's Maritime Labour Convention.
  • Advising a UK Company operating in the Middle East on discrimination issues arising in the workplace (sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, religion, age and sexual harassment) and law compliance.
  • Advising a free zone authority on the adoption and drafting of employment and sponsorship regulations, including advising on the regulatory set up of the free zone and the interplay between federal and emirate law.
  • Drafting a comprehensive set of company policies for a Government owned entity, the application and voluntary adoption of the Executive Regulations provisions and policies applicable within the Abu Dhabi civil service.
  • Advising multinational companies on the application of whistleblowing policies in the UAE and issues under local law in implementing policies developed for compliance with UK and US regulatory obligations.
  • Defending a multinational publicly listed employer operating within the oil and gas sector against a whistleblowing allegations and a claim of retaliation due to whistleblowing detriment claim.

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Expertise

Sara co-heads the MEA Employment Group and is recognised as a leading individual in employment by Chambers and Partners and Legal 500. She is bilingual in Arabic and English and experienced in all aspects of regional MEA employment law.

Offices & Regions covered