Discrimination and Salary Inequalities in Saudi Arabia

Posted on May 24, 2007


by Abeer Mishkhas, abeermishkhas@arabnews.com

According to a report by the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR), courts in Saudi are studying cases of salary inequalities between Saudis and foreigners, especially Westerners. And 50 employees in a private company have filed complaints that their salaries are less than those of foreign employees and have asked that the salaries be standardized. The Labor Ministry commented on the case, saying that it would not accept any discrimination between Saudi employees and foreign ones. […]

To return to the matter of discrimination in salaries, I remember a case where an Egyptian-American doctor applied for a job in Saudi Arabia. He used his Egyptian passport and to his surprise, the offered salary was much lower than he expected. It was not long before a friend told him of his mistake; he should have used his American passport. He applied again, using the US passport and was offered a package which he would never have got had he stuck to his Arab passport.

The NSHR, in its reports, “noted differences in treatment between foreign nationals according to their home countries. It mentioned that the Kingdom signed a treaty with the International Labor Organization in 1951 guaranteeing equal wage for men and women doing the same job.”

To leave workplace inequalities, the NSHR report brings a breath of fresh air to all who have been fighting discrimination and injustice. It did actually tackle discrimination against women, asked for an end to the rule of male guardians for all women and the need for male approval of all matters related to women.

A large part of the report dealt with women’s rights and their inability to pass on their nationality to their non-Saudi spouses and children. […]

The report includes violations of prisoners’ rights and cited a number of cases in which non-Saudis have been humiliated, mistreated and abused by the Saudi police, government officials and members of the Committee to Promote Virtue and Prevent Vice. [more]

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