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Israel Lowers Bar for Women to Sue for Pay Discrimination

Israel Lowers Bar for Women to Sue for Pay Discrimination

Israel’s highest court has ruled that when women sue their employers for pay discrimination, it is up to the employer to prove that its pay rates were fair, according to Reuters.

In the past it was up to Israeli women who sued for pay discrimination to prove that any pay disparity resulted from gender discrimination. Now, once a female plaintiff proves “the existence of a significant gap in wages,” the burden of showing compliance with anti-discrimination law passes to the employer.

The case originated in a hardware store that paid the plaintiff only 70% of a similarly situated male employee’s compensation. (On average women in Israel are paid just 66% of what men receive. In the United States it’s 77%.) The high court overruled a lower court’s finding that the disparity was legal because it resulted from the employees’ salary negotiations.

The AP wrote that a legal adviser to the organization that filed the lawsuit said the high court’s decision shifts the burden of proof in pay discrimination cases to the employer. “An employer cannot hide behind the fact that a woman asked for less money.” This ruling, she said, “gives women more leverage.”

Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz credited the ruling with “dramatically strengthening women’s rights at the work place.” It notes that the anti-discrimination law at issue in the case “also forbids discrimination over sexual preferences, personal status, pregnancy, fertility treatments, race, age, religion and nationality.” This ruling should make it easier for victims of those categories of discrimination to prevail in lawsuits against their employers.

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Photo credit: European Parliament

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10 comments

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1:42PM PDT on May 23, 2012

Wow, this is really a great step for ALL women in Israel! Congratulations to Israel for its objective and forward-thinking legal system.

I see that the article says that:

"It notes that the anti-discrimination law at issue in the case “also FORBIDS discrimination over sexual preferences, personal status, pregnancy, fertility treatments, race, age, RELIGION AND NATIONALITY.”

Wow, could you imagine such egalitarianism in a Muslim country, let alone the U.S.? It's a tiny and pretty new country, and as usual is making great strides on so many important issues, even as it has to deal with daily threats of annihilation. Good job, Israel!

Thanks for posting, Piper!

1:24PM PDT on May 23, 2012

Thanks for posting!

10:48AM PDT on May 23, 2012

Mazal tov my friends!

10:32AM PDT on May 23, 2012

Good news. Thanks Piper

8:36AM PDT on May 23, 2012

Yay! Good for them! Not the women elsewhere don't deserve good pay too but think about how much less women get then the women here.

8:07AM PDT on May 23, 2012

Wow! They use a bar while in the US we have a wall.

7:40AM PDT on May 23, 2012

Alleged justice for Jewish Zionist Entity citizens. How about the Palestinians working for peanuts in the OT and in the Entity proper?

6:09AM PDT on May 23, 2012

At last but not if you are Palestinian!"!

4:45AM PDT on May 23, 2012

About time. I've been following this issue at Ha’aretz.com. Thanks for psoting the article Piper

4:37AM PDT on May 23, 2012

Justice in Israel !!! Showing signs of extra intelligent thinking, by what will no doubt be a male led legal department, maybe now they can begin to see injustices they do to non-Jews in and bordering Israel.

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