IBA officials to face NIS 15.9m. suit for not enforcing smoking ban

Station could face an unprecedented NIS 15.9 million class-action suit filed by the country's leading anti-tobacco lawyer.

public smoking 224 88 (photo credit: Channel 10)
public smoking 224 88
(photo credit: Channel 10)
If the Israel Broadcasting Authority's director-general and other top officials do not immediately stop breaking the no-smoking laws in Jerusalem's Israel TV building, they will face an unprecedented NIS 15.9 million class-action suit filed by the country's leading anti-tobacco lawyer. Amos Hausner, chairman of the Israel Council for the Prevention of Smoking, who has won several important lawsuits over the enforcement of the laws, has informed IBA Director-General Moti Shklar that he and Israel TV's director and administrative director will personally have to pay the fine if they lose in court. A recent amendment to anti-smoking laws puts the onus on owners and managers of premises where illegal smoking occurs, thus Shklar and his colleagues - rather than the public who pay TV license fees - will have to pay if they lose the lawsuit. Hausner told The Jerusalem Post that he has received "many complaints from senior people down to low-level staffers" that no-smoking laws are being violated daily in Israel TV's building. When Hausner previously complained, Shklar admitted that the "smoking corners" in the building were not, as required by law, completely separated and enclosed or ventilated and not used by nonsmokers, however he took no action. In addition, Shklar conceded that that these spots are equipped with ashtrays, which is in itself a violation. Hausner said that as Shklar has "ignored several" of his letters, July 15 is the final deadline for filing the class-action suit. The old TV building cannot be entered by a municipality inspector without special permission, thus employees - who can't even open the windows - have no opportunity to breathe clean air. Hausner reached the NIS 15.9m. figure by multiplying the 530 non-smoking employees in the building who work 300 days per year by a NIS 1,000 charge for each smoking violation. Hausner previously represented a client in a well-known case by a patron at the Foccacetta restaurant in downtown Jerusalem. The client received NIS 1,000 for brief exposure to tobacco smoke despite her protests to the owner and staff. Hausner said he couldn't understand why IBA management continued to risk being sued by allowing smoking in illegal "smoking corners," in the cafeteria and in corridors.