Supreme Court Rejects Petition against Infringement of “Alien” Workers’ Right to Sue Employer

The Israeli Supreme Court has rejected a petition filed by human rights organization and has ruled that the discriminatory “Jordan Valley Regulations” will remain in force, despite violating employees’ access to the labor court system.

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Kav LaOved – Worker’s Hotline, and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)  filed a petition with the Supreme Court in August 2016 against the governmental Jordan Valley Regulations. These regulations demand that non-Israeli citizens/residents deposit a bond with the court before they initiate a lawsuit against an Israeli employer unless they can present irrefutable evidence proving their claim.

These regulations impose an extreme financial burden on workers – predominantly Palestinian residents of the occupied West Bank and migrant workers – and obstruct and restrict their access to Israeli labor courts, the sole authority that deals with violations of workers’ rights.

Following deliberations that lasted two years, Supreme Court Justice Noam Solberg rejected the petition and ruled that the regulations were not approved without the appropriate authority. Justice Solberg also ruled that, although the Jordan Valley Regulations do indeed violate the right of access to Israeli labor courts, the harm is nevertheless reasonable and tolerable.

Furthermore, Solberg ordered Adalah and its fellow petitioners to pay 10,000 shekels in court expenses, contradicting common guidelines whereby the court acts with leniency when considering the imposition of court expenses in cases brought before it by “public petitioners.”