Romanian firm discriminated against Jewish employee, court rules

Employee of Romanian firm excluded from projects after employer learned of his Jewish heritage, punished him for taking holiday on Passover.

Cnaan Liphshiz, JTA,

Gavel (illustration)
Gavel (illustration)

A judge in Romania awarded $5,700 in damages to a Jewish man who sued his employer for not giving the claimant time off on Passover and humiliating him because of his ethnicity.

Bernard Ciurariu won his workplace discrimination against NTT Data Romania last week in the city of Iasi, the news site Info Crestin reported.

The claimant was “punished because he did not go to work during the Jewish Passover, although the law affords him days off on that holiday,” the judge said, according to the report.

This and other forms of discrimination began against Ciurariu after the death of his father last year. His employers learned that he is Jewish because his father received a Jewish funeral. From then on, he was excluded from projects relevant to his work and sidelined at the workplace, he complained.

In the dispute over the workdays, the company offered Ciurariu take personal days off, which he declined to do because the Passover is recognized as an official holiday for Jews in Romania. The firm withheld payment for those days and put Ciurariu on notice, warning him during a public meeting in front of multiple colleagues that he would be fired if he again takes time off without approval.

Ciurariu sued the firm, the Romanian subsidiary of a Japanese systems integration giant, and won the case in July. But the firm appealed, resulting in the Iasi court upholding on Dec. 19 the July ruling of the lower court.