To get fired in Israel, you must have a “Shimua” or “שימוע” (hearing). It is a legal process which employers in Israel are obliged to conduct before firing an employee.
Avishai Maron is a co-founder of the LMU law firm in Tel Aviv & is the firm’s labor law expert. He helped me fact check laws regarding the Israeli firing process & participate in the following interview:
What is the Definition of a Shimua?
It is defined as “part of the procedure for lawful termination of employment by the employer. It is the hearing in which the employee can provide reasons to not be fired, and address the employer’s claims against them,” Avishai explained.
What are Fair & Unfair Grounds for Termination of an Employee?
Avishai stated, “There is no textbook answers to that in Israel. Generally, the employer has the prerogative to decide to terminate the employment of an employee, subject to provisions of law (including in the Shimua discussed above).
Generally, unfair grounds for termination would be grounds that are not related to the employee’s conducts or work such as the employee’s sex, sexual orientation, personal status, pregnancy, age, race, religion, nationality, etc.”
So, How Do You Get Legally Fired Working in Israel?
Step 1: Be Invited to a “Shimua” Hearing in Writing.
Firstly, the employer must send the employee in writing an invitation to their “Shimua” hearing with prior notice before the date of the hearing.
The invitation to the hearing (must be in writing) & should include the employer’s causes to terminate the work relations (list reasons why there are grounds to be fired), as well as any relevant documentation or evidence in relation to the reasons for terminating the work relations.
Step 2: Have a “Shimua” Hearing, Know Your Rights — Record it.
Avishai explained, “Firing an employee is mainly subject to due process, which includes a hearing (“Shimua”) in which the employee can address the reasons made by the employer for their intention to fire the employee and/or claims against the employees work, ethics, etc.”
As part of due process, the Shimua invitation must state the employee’s rights (such as the right for the participation of a lawyer or someone else on your behalf who may be present at the hearing).
Also, legally, the employee must be given “reasonable time” to prepare for the hearing (no less than 24–48 hours) and have the ability to consult with a lawyer if they choose.
Furthermore, a proper hearing must include a protocol in regard to all claims and arguments raised by both parties. The employee is allowed during the “Shimua” to defend themselves against all reasons the employer listed as grounds to terminate and other relevant claims.
I recommend recording the hearing yourself with any voice recording App and consulting with a lawyer before your hearing.
Besides that, the employer must consider your arguments in the hearing in “good faith.” They should not conduct the hearing with the intention of firing without considering your responses. Employers are legally required to consider everything you said in the hearing, and send their final termination decision in writing.
If the employer fails to have a proper, legal “Shimua” hearing, it could entitle the employee certain compensation (which will be decided by the court) and even the cancellation of the firing decision.
Avishai said, “Although courts usually wouldn’t prohibit the termination itself you can get a compensation if you were fired without a hearing or if there were fundamental flaws in the process (for example if the hearing was done on the spot without prior notice, if you were fired by text message saying you are immediately fired. These are all real-life examples).”
Step 3: Let’s Say You Got Fired…Now What?
You May Be Entitled to Pitzuim (Severance Pay). If you’ve worked at a job for over a year, then you are entitled to severance pay (generally equal to 1 month’s salary for each year working for the employer or as per Section 14 of the Severance Pay Law (1963). It is important to check your contract to see if section 14 is applicable as you may be entitled to some severance pay even if you didn’t work for a year.
If you resign from your job, under certain circumstances you might receive severance pay from your boss. Some employers might also choose to give it, even if it is not in your job contract or something you’ve agreed upon beforehand.
This is something to check in your job contract, and with your employers hopefully before you begin any job.
What Happens if the Employer Does Something Illegal?
A Shimua is a formality in the firing process. Usually, an employer won’t bring an employee for the hearing unless they are serious about firing them.
Nonetheless, there are laws that employers have to follow. If the employer violates a part of the Shimua process, I advise you to contact a lawyer immediately.
To start, this is a great free resource for Olim on Facebook: Ask an Israeli Lawyer. You can ask questions, get solid information, and ask for lawyer recommendations if you don’t know someone.
Beyond the need to get a consultation before and during the termination process it is also important to get consultation after the decision was made in order to make sure your rights are not being violated.
For example, if you have any remaining vacation days the employers must pay the equivalent of one working day worth. The employer should also release the pension fund and provide you certain documentation such as termination letter.
Another example is the prior notice period which is the time between the employers' resolution and the actual end of the employer-employee relations. Avishai explained, “The prior notice period is dependent on the duration of employment and the type of employment (monthly salary or shifts/days). The employer can let the employee continue working during the applicable prior notice period or to stop employment immediately and then paying the equivalent sum. Either way, the employer can’t fire you on the spot.”
I’d like to really thank Avishai for his help and support of the Olim in Tech Community.
Thanks for reading & have a great week!
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** Disclaimer: this article should not be considered as legal advice and should not replace consultation with a lawyer. I am not a lawyer or law professional and if you find yourself in a legal situation, you can use this information but should also consult with a professional independently. This is a personal weblog and the opinions expressed here represent my own views and not necessarily those of the entire organization.