Photo: Daniel Bar-On
Tel Aviv's Religious Council recently fired the newly divorced kashrut supervisor of the David Intercontinental Hotel for fear that he would take advantage of his work in order to host women in the hotel room he stays in during weekends.
The man, Moshe Wahab, decided to take the case to court, and the judge ruled that the suspension was faulty and discriminative.
They ordered the hotel to continue paying Wahab until the legal proceedings are completed, and to refrain from hiring a new permanent kashrut supervisor and settle for a temporary replacement.
Wahab has been working as David Intercontinental's kashrut supervisor for the past nine years. He recently divorced his wife and began spending two weekends a month at the hotel along with three of his children, at the hotel's expense.
When Wahab's supervisors at the Religious Council learned of his divorce, he was summoned to a hearing during which the question of his "personal status" was raised. At the end of the procedure he was suspended from his job.
A statement handed to the supervisor from the council read, "Your marital status is problematic to the continuation of your work… The kashrut department has decided to suspend you from the koshering job on behalf of the Tel Aviv Rabbinate until further notice."
"The fact that the 'marital status' issue was raised in the suspension decision, all the more so by ruling that the divorced man's status 'prevents him from continuing in his job' is faulty indirect discrimination," said Judge Yitzhak Lubotzky of the Tel Aviv Labor Court.
"There's no proof that the plaintiff's marital status (the divorce) had any influence on his ability to fulfill his work at the hotel," the judge added.
In response to the kashrut supervisor's demand to allow him to resume his work, the judge ruled that "the end result is that an employee has lost his job due to his personal status as a 'divorced man'."
The court also ordered the council to pay the supervisor's expenses amounting to NIS 3,500 (about $900), as well as the lawyers' fees.
Eldad Mizrahi, chairman of Tel Aviv's Religious Council, said in response, "The kashrut committee of the Tel Aviv Rabbinate's Religious Council decided to terminate the supervisor's employment after finding flaws in his conduct for a long period of time, including the submission of conflicting reports.
"The issue of his personal status was in no way a cause for terminating his employment, and was somehow inserted into the process incidentally."