So how do you “inflate” a claim against a prior employer? Easily!

May 6, 2018
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The article was published in Afiklaw 256 09.05.2018

We often encounter the filing of inflated claims by employees against their former employers. While for many contentions there is no dispute that if it turns out that they are baseless then the claim will be dismissed, there is one contention that could turn the table – breach of the duty to give notice to the employee about the terms of the employment.
The Employee Notification Law (Employment Conditions), 2002, imposes upon an employer an obligation to provide the employee with written notice specifying the employee’s terms of employment and to do so within 30 days of commencement of employment. The notice needs to include the job description, the name of the employee’s supervisor at the workplace, the length of the work day, social benefits, salary, and more.
One can understand It is possible to understand why oral agreements are not sufficient, but why is a separate written notice required when an employment agreement is signed? After all, this is a technical notice only. The Labor Courts held that the requirement to give written notice of employment conditions is not a technical matter at all. This is a requirement that is part of the obligation to act in good faith and in an acceptable manner in labor relations. Its purpose is to inform the employee in an orderly manner of all the conditions of the employment, thereby preventing misunderstandings. As a result, legal disputes regarding the terms of employment agreed between the parties will also be avoided. In this context, it is important to note that even when notice is given to the employee regarding the terms of the employment, in the case of any change of conditions during the employment period it is necessary to provide an updated notice.
If no notice was duly given in writing as required under law and a claim was filed by the employee, if there is a dispute regarding the terms of employment, the burden of proving them will fall on the employer, in contradiction to the ordinary burden of proof that falls on the claimant. In addition, the violation of the law not only constitutes a criminal offense but is also a ground for the award of monetary compensation. Although no criteria have yet been set by the Labor Courts to determine monetary compensation, the law provides compensation of up to ILS 15,000 if an employee is not duly given notice. It should be emphasized at this point that even if the failure to deliver the notice to the employee was done in good faith, the Labor Courts tend to award compensation, often at least one salary, even where there is no dispute over the terms of employment.
Thus, the way to avoid claims of violation of the Employee Notification Law is simple, by automatically submitting the notice upon the commencement of employment and in any case of change in the terms of employment. It is very important that employers consult with a lawyer at the stage of formulating employment agreements for future employees, not only with respect to the terms of the agreement but also with regard to the formulation of the notice regarding the terms of employment and the manner of giving notice when the terms of employment are changed.