The issue of whether an employer can require its employees to record their attendance by biometric fingerprinting was recently extensively discussed and ruled on by the National Labour Court. The court prohibited a municipality from recording attendance by biometric fingerprinting and ruled that fingerprints are a person's private and personal information and enjoy the constitutional and statutory protection afforded to the right of privacy.
The National Labour Court recently ruled that the widow of an employee, who had remarried her former husband on his deathbed, was not entitled to the various social benefits which had accrued to the benefit of the deceased's dependants. The employer refused to compensate the widow for severance pay differentials and the redemption of unused sick leave pay, claiming that such benefits were not part of the estate and that the widow was not a 'spouse' for the purposes of the social benefits claimed.
The issue of fixed-term employment – both in general and in the civil service in particular – raises many legal issues. The Supreme Court of Justice recently had an opportunity to provide a ruling in a case involving judges' legal assistants who were employed under special contracts. The ruling is an example of how the Supreme Court can create or force the legislature or the parties to an employment relationship to create special solutions for employment situations that do not fit conventional models.
Israeli collective labour relations confer a unique status on unions that are considered to be representative unions. According to a recent National Labour Court decision, the recognition of a union's representativeness must be followed by a period of stability in order to give the union and the employer an opportunity to establish a relationship of trust and cooperation. However, if clear indications suggest that the union is no longer representative, the employer may challenge the representativeness.
The Labour Court recently ruled that employers have a duty to inform prospective employees that the job that is offered to them is temporary and could be terminated at the end of a brief period, irrespective of their performance. The court ruled that, in the absence of other information, a candidate is entitled to assume that if he or she carries out the job satisfactorily, in the absence of unforeseen events, he or she can remain in employment indefinitely.
A recent employment case found that an employer whose employee started a competing business during his employment was entitled to compensation, even though the employer could not prove unlawful misappropriation of its confidential information or solicitation of its clients. Although the employer was unable to prove the misappropriation of confidential information, it was awarded damages for the breach of trust and bad faith exhibited by the employee.
Whistleblowers often claim that they were dismissed due to their whistleblowing activities and are therefore entitled to the special statutory compensation intended to protect whistleblowers. However, even if an employee is convinced that the irregularities cautioned against occurred, he or she must exercise caution, as unrestrained conduct could lead to lawful dismissal.