Court triples fine for firm that denied hurt worker
The National Labor Tribunal tripled the fine levied on Tassa, a wood importer and retailer, for neglecting a Chinese employee.
The National Labor Tribunal tripled the fine levied on Tassa, a wood importer and retailer, for neglecting a Chinese employee. The neglect was so extreme that after the man was injured at work, he was hospitalized anonymously, the court found.
The worker, Yang Kaping, was severely injured when a forklift overturned and crushed him.
When an ambulance arrived at the scene, company owner Eyal Tassa denied any connection to Kaping, said he didn't know him, and refused to provide any identifying information.
The hospital had no identifying details for Kaping, who was hospitalized with a head injury, and no one from the company either visited or inquired about his condition. Kaping fled the hospital 10 days later, worried that he would be charged for his hospitalization.
In April 2004 the state filed an indictment against Tassa for employing a foreigner without a license, without medical insurance, and without a written contract in a language the worker understood. The Tel Aviv District Court fined the company NIS 50,000, and owner Eyal Tassa NIS 15,000.
The state prosecutor appealed to the National Labor Tribunal, complaining that the penalty was overly lenient. Tassa argued that the fact that the hospital did not know the worker's name did not jeopardize his treatment. He also told the court that the company had given the worker living quarters after the accident, as well as a salary during his hospitalization.
The judges, however, were unimpressed, ruling that in their weak position, foreign workers need to be protected from employers who treat them like sources of income instead of humans whose dignity and safety must be protected.
The judges also ruled that the employer had compounded the crime of not providing the worker with medical insurance with neglecting him after the injury, and accepted the appeal, fining the company NIS 150,000 and owner Eyal Tassa NIS 45,000.