Fair Employment Rights in Israel: New Law Prohibits Employers from Nabbing Paychecks from Employees

A viral Facebook post inspired Israeli legislators to alter that country’s labor laws, making it illegal for employers to seize portions of employees’ paychecks.

Here’s how the exciting story (with a happy ending) played out, according to local media.

A Jaffa Port club called The Container hired a woman named Anat Kamrad as a server, but she opted out of working at the restaurant because of the establishment’s radical rules regarding customer returns. Per Kamrad, if a customer didn’t like a dish and sent it back, the server would have to pay half the cost of the meal. If a customer left without paying, the server would have to pay the entire cost of the meal, no matter how much the meal itself cost.

Kamrad’s Facebook status about these crazy rules went viral. It received over 850 likes and 120 shares, prompting the attention of concerned citizens and journalists, who ultimately inspired The Container to change its rules.

MK Alex Miller (Yisrael Beytenu) proposed legislation in the wake of Kamrad’s post to curtail this kind of abusive and unfair employer behavior in Israel. Miller said “the law will bring an end to the absurd and scandalous phenomenon in which a junior employee who works hard and gets a low salary and pays a fine even if he or she was unable to prevent the damages caused. If the employer claims the worker caused damage, he or she can prove it in court and not use his or her authority to punish the worker.”

It’s a shame that it sometimes takes dramatic abuse to inspire corrective action. What is interesting about this restaurant worker’s story, however, is that her protest began online in an innocuous, un-strategic fashion. In other words, she did not set out to “take down” the restaurant or to inspire national civic change. But her story touched people so much that it not only inspired the restaurant to change its payment practices but also motivated local legislators to take a stand for the rights of workers and correct what was clearly a disturbing inequality.

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