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Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Submitted the Commission’s 2015 Annual Report to PM and Minister of Economy and Industry Benjamin Netanyahu Photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)
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Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Submitted the Commission’s 2015 Annual Report to PM and Minister of Economy and Industry Benjamin Netanyahu

22 June 2016


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the work of the Commissioner,

 Adv. Mariam Kabaha: “The Commission’s work is of great social importance. Diversity is important in the labor market to both society and the economy and I call on employers to incorporate excluded populations so as to reduce social gaps.”


Jerusalem, June 22, 2016 – Last night, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner at the Ministry of Economy and Industry Adv. Mariam Kabaha submitted the EEOC’s 2015 annual report to the Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Industry Benjamin Netanyahu. Adv. Kabaha noted that, “the main challenge faced by the labor market is the ability to include and integrate all of the population sectors in Israel. The EEOC has set the goal of providing employers and employees with the tools to create a diverse and equal labor market, and the challenge now is building together a labor market that is based on opportunities, diversity and inclusion.” 


The Commissioner noted that during 2015 the EEOC began holding a series of training and guidance sessions for employers and managers regarding various areas of the labor market. The training sessions focused on providing tools for recruiting a variety of employees and employee retention from a range of population sectors. The EEOC will continue to develop this area and provide in-depth programs for implementing equality and diversity in the labor market, alongside raising awareness regarding the existence of the EEOC as an address for population sectors that have experienced workplace discrimination and increasing law enforcement in this area.


In the coming months, the EEOC will launch an innovative tool – the first of its kind in Israel: the business variety index. The index will reflect the representation and salary situation of several population sectors that suffer from exclusion and discrimination in the labor market.


Summary of the 2015 Report


During 2015, the EEOC dealt with 729 complaints. A sharp rise was noted regarding complaints due to ethnic origin (146%) – 69% of these complaints are from people of Ethiopian origin. Likewise, there was also an increase in complaints due to gender (29%) and nationality (23%).


Of the 729 complaints registered with the EEOC in 2015, the sharpest rise was for complaints due to ethnic origin, 146% (from 13 complaints to 32). Over two thirds (69%) of these complaints were from people of Ethiopian origin. There was also an increase in complaints due to gender (29%) and nationality (23%). This trend firstly indicates a rise in the sense of legitimacy to complain felt by employees of Ethiopian origin, following the protest events last year. This trend of more complaints due to nationality, that began in 2014 and increased during 2015, emphasizes the repercussions of Operation Protective Edge and the wave of terrorist attacks in Israel over recent months, on employees from Arab society, who suffer from increasing difficulties in keeping their jobs. Likewise, the rise in the rate of complaints is commensurate with the outreach that the EEOC carries out in the Arab sector, so as to encourage employees from this sector to complain about discrimination, and thus increase enforcement of laws against discrimination due to nationality.


At the same time, in 2015 there was a drop in the rate of complaints due to pregnancy, parenthood and military reserve duty. In total, there was a drop of 6.6% in the number of complaints to the EEOC, particularly due to the fall in the number of complaints due to pregnancy, which this year also comprise around one third (31%) of the complaints submitted in total.


The sharpest rise in 2015 was in complaints regarding ethnic origin, with 146% more complaints than in 2014. Of these complaints, 69% were from members of the Ethiopian community.


Regarding complaints due to nationality, we can see that in 2015 too, the number and rate of complaints has continued to increase, from 48 complaints in 2014, comprising 6% of the complaints to the EEOC, to 59 complaints, comprising 8% of the complaints. In comparison with the same period last year, there has been a 23% increase.


Around one third (31%) of the complaints to the EEOC in 2015 were due to discrimination due to pregnancy. Around one tenth more (11%) were concerning age, 9% regarding gender, 8% regarding nationality and 6% regarding military reserve duty. We can also learn that 38% of the complaints this year were due to being fired from work, around one quarter (23%) due to worsening of work conditions and around one fifth (21%) for discrimination in being accepted for work. Similarly to previous years, this year around two thirds (61%) of the complaints were from women, while just over one third (37%) were from men. A more thorough examination of the women’s complaints shows that over 40% turned to the EEOC due to pregnancy-related discrimination. If we add the rate of those complaining due to discrimination because of fertility treatments and parenthood, we reach a rate of 56% who complained on topics of discrimination connected with the process of having and raising children. Figure 5 shows that 44% complained about being fired, around one quarter about worsening of work conditions and 16% regarding discrimination regarding being accepted for employment.


Segmentation of the men’s complaints according to the topic of their complaint, indicates that the most frequent reasons for the complaints during the last year are military reserve duty (16%), age (15%), nationality (13%), pregnancy (of their partners – 10%), ethnic origin and religion (7% for each reason). In general, men complain about a wider variety of reasons, while for women the “traditional female” reasons, connected with the responsibility of parenting, are the most frequent.


A comparative examination regarding complaints about different issues, some more characteristic of women, and some of men, raises several interesting trends. For example, being fired was the most common employment stage for women’s complaints due to pregnancy (67%) and fertility treatments (76%). Also for complaints regarding parenthood, the rate of complaints regarding being fired was relatively high (32%) together with a high rate of complaints regarding worsening of work conditions, and a not insignificant rate (27%) of complaints regarding discrimination when being accepted for work. It can also be seen that regarding the reason of gender, the most common employment stage is working conditions (47% of the complaints); however, around a fifth (21%) of them concerned discrimination when being accepted for work. It is therefore clear that women suffer to a great extent from being fired due to personal processes of having and raising children. However, the discrimination against them is also expressed in their difficulty in taking their place in the labor market (that we can assume is also relevant to the reason of pregnancy but is not expressed in the figures since women tend not to go to interviews during this period) and regarding worsening of their work conditions.