Company to Compensate Fired Worker Over 'Do Not Let In' Mugshot at Entrance

Sign posted at entrance of factory resembled a wanted notice for an escaped prisoner says Lotan Mines; Mines was fired from Scope Metals Group while he was on sick leave.

A fired worker whose name, photo and dismissal date were posted at the entrance of the factory where he used to work will receive NIS 35,000 in compensation from his former employer, the Rishon Letzion Magistrate's Court ruled.

The sign constituted defamation, the court ruled.

Lotan Mines had been fired from the Scope Metals Group while he was on sick leave. The sign resembled a wanted notice for an escaped prisoner, he said.

The company was destroying his good name by posting the sign at the guard booth where hundreds of workers would pass, many of them residents of the area where he and his family live, he argued in court. As a result, his family was besieged with insults and denunciations, he said.

In addition, he could not find another job in his field because of the public defamation, he said.

Scope argued that the company would regularly post pictures of fired people in the guard booth so that the guards would be alerted when certain people could no longer enter the premises. The sign was for the guards' benefit, the company said.

Judge Oren Schwartz sided with Mines, ruling that by posting his photo and identifying details, Scope had indeed defamed him, particularly given that this came after a theft incident at the company.

"The guard booth where the photo is hanging is the main entrance, such that workers and visitors can see it clearly," Schwartz said. "In order to prevent certain people from entering, the company could have used a smaller photo placed where only the guard would see it, such as on the counter or on a small bulletin board. It's not clear why printing the employee's name, ID number, telephone number, address and dismissal date were necessary to keep him from entering the factory."

The sign was disproportionate and unreasonable, he ruled, ordering Scope to pay Mines NIS 35,000 in compensation plus NIS 7,500 in legal fees.