'Inappropriate behavior isn't always harassment'

Labor court judge rules against woman who claimed her boss sexually harassed her by making inappropriate remarks.

Shlomo Pyutrokovsky,

National Labor Court
National Labor Court
Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash 90

A judge in the Tel Aviv Regional Labor court, Oren Segev, has rejected a lawsuit filed by a Transport Ministry worker accusing her Ministry superior of sexual harassment and demanding monetary compensation.

The woman worked as a secretary in the Tel Aviv branch of the Ministry of Transportation. She alleged that from the very beginning of her time working in the Ministry, the official for whom she worked would regularly make remarks about her physical appearance, such as "You look so beautiful today," or "You're gorgeous; you're really shining today," and more, while looking at her in a way that caused her great discomfort. The woman also mentioned two specific cases in which she was made especially uncomfortable.

She worked as a secretary for the accused man for 4 months, after which she was transferred to another department following her repeated complaints about the conduct of her superior.

The judge in the case ruled that the accuser hadn't proven her claims, and that the remarks the official admitted to making do constitute inappropriate behavior, but aren't within the realm of sexual harassment.

The judge also said that the woman's testimony lacked credibility, and that she seemed "calculating, not spontaneous and at times evasive, in such a way as to make me question the reliability of her story."

In the conclusion of his ruling, the judge wrote: "Not every inappropriate and off-color remark should be categorized as sexual harassment, and it is precisely because of the importance of the sexual harassment laws and the purpose they are meant to fulfill that we must ensure that the line between remarks that are merely inappropriate, which certainly must be dealt with in the disciplinary - but not legal - realm, and remarks that constitute actual sexual harassment.




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