Court orders nightclubs to pay for guards abandoned by their agency

More than a year ago, Moti Miller, 19, was hired by B.K. Security to guard the entrances of nightclubs in Rishon Lezion and Bat Yam. He stood on his feet for nearly one hundred hours over a period of nine days performing his duties. Yet when he arrived at the company office to collect his weekly paycheck, the doors were locked, without a referring address posted. The agency had disappeared. After many months of demanding justice, Miller and his fellow security guards will finally be able to receive the wages they earned. An initial verdict was pronounced yesterday by the Tel Aviv Labor Court, with only the plaintiff's side present. The court concluded that the clubs secured by the company will carry the responsibility of paying the security guards' owed paychecks. The abandoned employees of this security company were represented by the Union of Working and Student Youth, which aggressively pursued the case. In an unusual step, they demanded compensation from the nightclubs that had hired the security guards through the agency. Yesterday, the plaintiffs presented their argument that, despite the temporary and transient nature of the security guards' employment by the nightclubs, "the courts are obligated to find a way to protect the employee and to ensure that his minimum, regular paycheck will be paid." The court accepted the Youth Union's argument and decided that each of the nightclubs should pay the employees' salaries, but only for the specific days that they were hired. The total amounts owed by the clubs reached several hundred shekels. The Union of Working and Student Youth considered this case to be a victory for their efforts to ensure fair treatment of vulnerable employees. The union issued a statement warning that in the manpower industry "the responsibility [of payment] does not only belong to the agency, but also to the official party on whose behalf the work is performed... Our message to the employer is simple - if you want to represent an employee through an agency, you must demand from the company a financial guarantee, to be used in case the agency suddenly disappears."