On Sunday, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Labor and Social Development ordered the dismissal and deportation of an expat manager after he was accused of "demeaning" Saudi female employees, Al Madina newspaper reported.
The decision came hours after several women, who work at the retail store managed by the Lebanese man, posted a video on social media revealing that he offered them one riyal ($0.27) each to clean the shop's floor.
"Today is the 17th of May, the 12th day of Ramadan, a Lebanese manager just came and gave each of us (employees at a Zara store) one riyal to mop the floor," one of the women can be heard saying in the clip.
The video sparked controversy after circulating on Saudi Twitter, prompting authorities to take action. In a statement issued on the matter, the country's Ministry of Labor said:
"The ministry investigated the incident, speaking with the female employees involved and managers of the company. Our initial investigation revealed several violations at the site including one that goes against article 61 of the labor law which states that employers and those who work for them must treat employees with respect."
The ministry also assured the public that action has been taken and called on people to report any similar incidents or violations.
The legal consultant of the Zara branch in Saudi Arabia issued a statement on the matter, saying the company is conducting an internal investigation. He also added that the behavior reported in the video doesn't reflect the company's policy.
The video angered thousands of Saudis, who saw the expat's request as an insult to the kingdom's men and women. Some said the country's nationals deserve to hold managerial positions rather than working under "foreign managers."
Not everyone shared the same point of view, though. A few felt the incident was blown out of proportion while others thought it was racist to differentiate between Saudis and expat workers who work together in the country's private sector.
"Why are expats managing Saudi workers? Saudi nationals should have a priority over foreigners"
"We thank the Ministry of Labor for immediately reacting to this"
Not everyone held the same view, though
"I don't like to get into people's intentions but what's the benefit of filming something like this without anything to prove the incident? Who's the manager? What's the name of the store? Anyone can hold up a few riyals and film something similar. I am not denying that there are bad managers out there but this footage doesn't prove anything."
Some didn't get what was wrong with cleaning in the first place
"Cleaning is a light labor activity that can teach us the humility we lack. Why not if there's remuneration for doing such a job?"
Others thought the entire incident was blown out of proportion
"What is this a game? What's written in your contract? 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."