Firm Ordered to Pay Fired Pregnant Worker NIS 300,000

Of course it knew she was pregnant, she was in 7th month, says judge

Cleaning and maintenance services company ISS-Ashmoret was ordered to compensate an employee fired during her seventh month of pregnancy.

Companies in Israel may fire pregnant workers only with the approval of the Industry and Trade Ministry.

ISS-Ashmoret lived to regret the move: it has been slammed with a precedent-setting NIS 300,000 compensation package, plus interest and inflation linkage.

The Jerusalem Regional Labor Tribunal placed responsibility straight onto the shoulders of company's branch and regional managers for violating the equal opportunities law.

Judge Sarah Shdeour ruled that the defendants fired the worker illegally, knowing she was pregnant.

The judge accepted all the claims of the plaintiff, Inalam Ababitan, who was represented by the Israel Women's Network.

Shdeour rewarded the worker severance pay, as well as compensation for her lost income and her distress.

"The court found the worker's version credible and convincing. In contrast, the defendant's testimony is inaccurate and is full of holes," noted the judge.

Shdeour also found fault with the fact that the company did not hire back the worker even after an Industry and Trade official refused to approve the illegal layoff.

The judge rejected ISS-Ashmoret managers' claims that the worker was only hired as a temp and quoted the law stating that even the temporary layoff of a temp working at least six months for a company was considered dismissal.

She also rejected their claims that they did not know she was pregnant, noting that she was in a late stage of pregnancy.