Gazans who lost jobs in disengagement not owed severance

National Labor Court upholds ruling in response to an appeal filed by 17 Gazans who lost their workplace as a result of the pullout.

By RON FRIEDMAN
February 16, 2011 05:32
1 minute read.
Neve Dekalim in Gush Katif

Gusk Katif -Neve Dekalim 58. (photo credit: Yakov Ben-Avraham)

The National Labor Court upheld on Tuesday a lower court’s ruling that a Gush Katif employer, who fired Palestinian workers because of 2005’s disengagement from Gaza, does not owe them severance.

The decision came in response to an appeal filed by 17 Gazans who lost their workplace as a result of the pullout.

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The lower court had dismissed the claims out of hand, ruling that the employers had never fired the workers and that the parties’ employment arrangement had come to an end because of a government decision.

Judge Yigal Plitman said in his ruling that for the Severance Pay Law to apply, the suing party had to have been fired, and that in this case the employer never fired the workers.

“On the contrary,” Plitman wrote, “both sides were interested in continuing the relationship, and only a ‘state act’ brought the contract to an end, against their will.”

Representing the minority opinion, Judge Ronit Rosenfeld wrote that the situation was similar to the closing down of a factory, and that the employees were entitled to compensation. She wrote that the question of whether the employer wanted to end the contract or not was irrelevant and the principle behind the Severance Pay Law, to enable workers who lost their jobs to support themselves until they found new employment, still applied.

National Labor Court President-emeritus Stephen Adler sided with Plitman in holding that there had been no act of termination and therefore no cause for compensation.

The appeal was rejected two to one.


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