Eli Yishai 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The sister of Interior Minister Eli Yishai is being sued for nearly NIS 30,000
for failing to pay social benefits and grant the appropriate vacation time or
sick leave to a foreign worker whom she employed illegally for more than five
Mina Kumari, a Nepalese caregiver who arrived here in November
2009, last week filed a lawsuit in the Tel Aviv Labor Court against Yishai’s
sister, Yael Sha’ashua, Kav LaOved, a non-profit that helps workers understand
their labor rights, revealed in a statement Friday.
According to the
information, Kumari turned to Kav LaOved for help last October after being
refused a new visa when information came to light that she failed to extend her
visa during the time she was working for Sha’ashua.
In the lawsuit,
Kumari describes how Sha’ashua reassured her several times that her brother,
Interior Minister Yishai, was arranging the visa. The agency that brought her to
Israel told her the same story, despite the fact that Kumari was actually in
danger of being deported.
Information shared in the suit describes how
Kumari had been brought to work with Sha’ashua, who was recovering from cancer
and therefore entitled to home-nursing care.
However, in the court
documents, Kumari claims that she spent almost no time working as a nurse,
rather was asked to take on such duties as house cleaning and, in violation of
regulations, was forced to rent an apartment in Tel Aviv that she paid for
herself. The law requires an employer to provide a licensed migrant worker with
a place to live.
After Sha’ashua failed repeatedly to renew Kumari’s
visa, the Nepalese worker turned to Kav LaOved for help and subsequently
submitted her resignation.
When she found alternative work, Kumari was
denied a visa after the Population Authority Office in Ashkelon said she stayed
in Israel illegally for too long.
In response, a spokesman for Yishai
said that he had received a request to help Sha’ashua but had told her to apply
in the appropriate way.
“Recently we have seen more and more workers
turning to us who have been brought to Israel to work as nurses, but in practice
end up working as housekeepers or cleaners for people who do not need home care
at all,” commented Idit Lebovitch, Kav LaOved’s nursing
Referring to Kumari’s case, Lebovitch added: “This is a
classic case of a worker that lost her legal status after her employer behaved
Daily fear of arrest and deportation has caused
psychological suffering and cost her a heavy price that might have been avoided
if the employer had following the Interior Ministry’s guidelines.”
Khatib, Kav LaOved’s CEO pointed out Friday that it is the duty of every
employer and employee to check the conditions of his or her work arrangement and
to follow the laws and regulations.