© All rights reserved to Barnea Jaffa Lande Law offices

Together is powerful

Exceptional Workplace Bullying Compensation Awarded to an Employee in Israel

The Israeli National Labor Court recently awarded ILS 300,000 in workplace bullying compensation to an employee. The employee, a clerk in the emergency ward of a government hospital, filed a grievance against the administrative manager at the hospital. The grievance was closed, but, later on, the employee was subjected to several types of irregular conduct. The employee was transferred to another department in the hospital (consensually). Concurrently, the manager filed a libel suit against the employee and the Civil Service Commission held a discussion on the matter. The employee’s work hours were reduced. He was also transferred once again to another department, which was not a good fit for him. Finally, the employee asked to take early retirement at the age of 50.


First Claim


Prior to his retirement in 2012, the employee apologized to the manager in order to dismiss the libel suit. Concurrently, the disciplinary case the Civil Service Commission opened against the employee in this regard was closed. At a later stage, the employee demanded to be reinstated, alleging he was forced to retire, but his request was denied. In 2015, the employee filed a claim with a regional labor court on the grounds of workplace bullying. Six years later, the regional labor court awarded compensation to the employee in the sum of ILS 60,000.


The Appeal


The employee appealed the sum and the National Labor Court allowed his appeal and set the compensation at ILS 300,000.


When setting the sum of the workplace bullying compensation, the court took into account the nonpecuniary component of mental anguish, the economic repercussions of the employee’s retirement, and the deterrent component considering the employer is the State.


A Defined Criteria


It is important to keep in mind that workplace bullying consists of several aspects, including unreasonable repetitive behavior or several separate incidents of unreasonable behavior (even if different), to differentiate from a one-time incident.


When deliberating an allegation of workplace bullying, the court deems it important to examine the employee’s grievances as a whole. Examining such grievances independently of each other could result in failure to identify workplace bullying, which is discernable when the overall picture is presented.


Not all mental anguish caused to an employee due to strained relations with coworkers or due to a manager’s conduct will be deemed workplace bullying. Behavior is examined objectively and an employee’s subjective feelings are insufficient.


This case is unusual in Israel and the sum awarded is higher than sums awarded in other workplace bullying claims. This is another indication of a judicial trend of adjudicating workplace bullying claims, even prior to the legislature regulating the matter. Naturally, this and other court rulings obligate employers to address the phenomenon, to prevent such incidents, and to investigate incidents if they occur.




Barnea Jaffa Lande’s Employment Departments is at your service if you have any questions about building a program to prevent workplace bullying, investigating grievances, or any other issue you may have relating to labor law.


Netta Bromberg is a partner and head of the firm’s Employment Department.

Tags: Compensation | Workplace Bullying