The past year has seen an increase of more than 45% in complaints on sexual harassment in the workplace, according to figures released by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission at the Economy Ministry.
In addition, complaints on gender discrimination went up 35%, complaints on religious discrimination increased by 30%, and complaints on pregnancy discrimination rose 26%.
This year, the Commission dealt with 925 appeals – a 9% increase from last year.
"Despite the labor market's progress and the rise in employers' awareness, there are still employers who fail to meet the law's requirements, and the causes for that must be dealt with – both through PR efforts and deterrence," says Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner Attorney Ziona Koenig-Yair.
"The encouraging figure is the rise in appeals, which also reflects a rise in the working public's awareness to its rights," she adds.
Koenig-Yair notes that "the increase in discrimination, revealed in the appeals, raises concerns." She says that one-third of appeals had to do with pregnancy, 9% with age, 6% with parenting and another 6% with reserve duty.
Employees' complaints on discrimination related to gender, pregnancy, birth and raising children made up half of the complaints (49%). About 50% of the appeals in these cases followed dismissals, 20% complained about discrimination in being hired and 20% about discrimination in their working conditions.
Two-third of the complaints were filed by women. The difference between men and women were apparent in the subjects of the appeals and in the employment stages in which they suffered from discrimination. Women suffered from discrimination related to pregnancy (45%), age (7%), parenting (7%), fertility treatments (6%) and gender (3%).
Among the men, on the other hand, 16% appealed the Commission for discrimination related to their reserve duty, 12% for age discrimination, another 12% for discrimination over their spouse's pregnancy, 7% over religion, another 7% over gender, and 6% complained of nationality-based discrimination.
Women who appealed on matters related to having and raising children suffered from a high dismissal rate: Eighty-one percent were fired for fertility treatments, 7% for pregnancy-related issues, and 56% for parenting-related issues. In the parenting-related complaints, a significant number (35%) deal with discrimination in working conditions.