A Lebanese man has been deported from Saudi Arabia following social media outrage for “demeaning” local women, when he allegedly offered them less than 30 cents to clean a shop floor.
The decision on Sunday to expel the unnamed expat from the kingdom came just hours after a video of the man, who manages a retail store, was published online and quickly went viral.
In the video – allegedly filmed by several women working at a Saudi outlet of Spanish high-street fashion brand Zara – one of the shop workers claims he paid them just one Saudi riyal ($0.27) to mop the shop floor.
“Today is the 17th of May, the 12th day of Ramadan, a Lebanese manager just came and gave each of us… one riyal to mop the floor,” the unidentified woman said.
The video provoked anger among Saudis online, who saw the paltry offer as an affront to Saudi citizens.
Some argued that the incident proved the need for Saudi nationals, rather than foreigners, to take up managerial positions in the country.
“Saudi nationals should have priority over foreigners,” claimed one Twitter user.
Others thought the video had been entirely blown out of proportion.
“Cleaning is a light labour activity,” said Twitter user Abdullah Mohammad al-Barak.
Twitter user Al-Bandary bint Abdul Aziz chimed in: “What’s the role you signed up for? If you were hired as a cleaner, then it’s your job to clean up the place and that’s it.
“If that isn’t the job listed in your contract then throw the riyal in his face and report him to the Ministry of Labor. Filming this and complaining on Twitter isn’t going to win you your rights,” Stepfeed reported.
مدير لبناني يقدم مكافأة “ريال واحد” لموظفتين سعوديتين نظير تنظيفهما الأرضيات في أحد المحلات التابعة لشركة عالمية، ومغردون يطالبون وزارة العمل بالتحقيق في الحادثة.(سبق) pic.twitter.com/yScQBXbsR6
— هاشتاق السعودية (@HashKSA) May 18, 2019
The ministry of labour and social development soon issued a statement on the incident, saying that its initial investigation had indicated “several violations” of the country’s labour law. This includes breaking an article which states that “employers and those who work for them must treat employees with respect”.
It later announced that the Lebanese man had been fired and deported from Saudi Arabia, according to Al-Madina.
The ministry also called on Saudi citizens to report similar events for investigation.
“[Zara] strongly condemns this individual’s unacceptable behaviour, which is in violation of its labour policies and regulations,” the legal affairs chief for the company’s Saudi branch said in a statement according to Sabq.
He added that the company was conductings its own investigation and was prepared to take legal measures against the man.