Court Rules NIS 50,000 Compensation to Worker Fired for Fertility Treatments

An employee who was fired after undergoing fertility treatments will receive compensation from April Teraklin totaling NIS 49,500, the Tel Aviv Labor Tribunal ruled recently.

The woman was employed for a year and a half as a certified accountant by April Teraklin, a firm that imports luxury auto accessories. She sued for reinstatement and compensation of NIS 183,000 after being fired in July 2004.

She claimed that all parties had shown full satisfaction with her work until she informed the firm's director that she was undergoing fertility treatments, which forced her to be absent from work for three days. The director told her that he was troubled by her absence and had decided to fire her. Various means were then employed by the firm's management to pressure her into quitting, she says.

The woman told the court that her employers had applied to the Ministry of Industry and Trade for permission to fire her, which was refused.

April Teraklin counter-sued for NIS 150,000, claiming that the woman was negligent in her work, caused inventory shortages and had taken computer files home without permission. It also accused her of stealing property and data and of having taped the director without his knowledge.

The firm denied that the fertility treatments were the reason for her dismissal, citing her problematic behavior.

In her ruling, Judge Dina Efrati noted that the employee had been fired in contradiction to the Industry Ministry's position, giving rise to suspicions that there was a connection between the employee's absences from work due to fertility treatments and her being fired. "I have been persuaded that the director and his daughters blocked the employee's access to the computer and revoked her authority to perform ongoing tasks, even preventing her from accessing the toilets in the building," the judge wrote.

The ruling also stated that the director and his daughters had jeopardized and prejudiced the woman's rights because of her fertility treatments.

Efrati therefore ruled that the former employee would receive compensation of NIS 30,000 for the jeopardizing of her work, NIS 13,000 (two monthly salaries) for unlawful dismissal and another NIS 6,500 for the failure to give her advance notice of her dismissal.