Disabled from work: heart attack after dismissal

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M., an engineer in a public company, was fired after 25 years of work.

The Jerusalem Regional Labor Court recently accepted his claim, and ruled that he had undergone an unusual incident at work, having rejected the claim in two previous judgments. The employee was represented by Adv. Itamar Cohen from the law firm of Adv. Cohen Mack.

The 57-year-old employee was forced to retire early after 25 years of work. About two weeks after signing the retirement agreement, he returned to the company offices, to pick up his belongings, sign forms, return the employee card and say goodbye to his co-workers.

At the same time, his supervisor called him to go to his room, and warned the employee not to dare to engage in his new job on issues related to the company in which he worked. A heated argument broke out between the two, during which the former employee threatened to call security personnel in order to remove him from the scene. The next day, after morning training, the employee had a heart attack.

In the lawsuit filed by the employee with the National Insurance Institute (National Insurance Institute), to recognize the incident as a work accident, his attorney, Adv. Itamar Cohen, argued that the argument with the supervisor was an unusual event that caused the employee to have myocardial infarction. The NSC argued, on the other hand, that at the time of the dispute the plaintiff was no longer working for the company and therefore the incident could not be a work accident.

Adv. Cohen filed a lawsuit on his behalf with the Jerusalem Regional Labor Court, which serves as an appellate court for the decisions of the National Insurance Institute. However, this lawsuit was also rejected.

“It is similar to a pensioner who comes to work to take a holiday gift, or examine the amount of pension he receives, or sign forms regarding the amount of the pension. An accident that happens to him will not be considered a work accident, since he is not working at the time,” the first ruling said. Regional Labor Court.

The employee did not say desperate, and filed an appeal to the National Labor Court. The National Court, with the consent of the parties, ordered that the hearing be returned to the Regional Labor Court for the purpose of completing evidence.

In the supplementary hearing, Adv. Cohen argued that the argument with the supervisor was a direct continuation of the treatment the employee received from his supervisors during his years of work, and therefore the connection between the murky relationship between them and the argument that erupted after his work should not be severed.

However, the Honorable Justice Eyal Avrahami, President of the Jerusalem Regional Labor Court, once again dismissed the claim and ruled that in accordance with the National Insurance Law, in order for an accident to be recognized as a work accident, the insured must be an employee.

Advocate Cohen filed another appeal with the National Labor Court, claiming, among other things, that the ruling was given in a lack of composition and without public representatives, and therefore the case was returned once again to the Regional Labor Court.

After the case was repeated for the third time, the Honorable President Avrahami accepted the plaintiff’s claims that the whole purpose of the argument between him and his supervisor was to humiliate and humiliate him. “The plaintiff left the ward and the company where he worked for about 25 years, abruptly,” the judge ruled, “he was summoned to complete the retirement process. “.

In addition, the judge ruled that the employee’s meeting with his supervisor took place in the department where he worked and that the argument between the two was heated, when during a difficult exchange, the two faced each other in a threatening position. The commissioner demanded that the prosecutor leave, and even threatened to call the security personnel to take him out of his room. “This description appears to indicate the intensity and severity of the dispute,” the judge ruled. “The plaintiff eventually came out humiliated and defeated from the workplace where he worked for 25 years. The heart attack occurred the next morning, about 16 days after the date of his termination.”

The judge rejected the NSC’s contention that the conversation between the employee and his supervisor was not related to the dismissal process. “We hold that the dispute between the plaintiff and his supervisor was clearly related to his work and termination of employment,” the verdict said. Completion of his work – processes in the personnel department, collecting his belongings and saying goodbye to his friends in the department. This is therefore a clear connection to his work, and it can even be said that it was done during his work, since he came to complete the processes of finishing his work. It must be remembered that the heartbreaking event happened to him the next day, when on the same day he arrived at his house humiliated and defeated, and went to sleep. “

The judge therefore accepted the employee’s claims, and ruled that the argument should be considered an exceptional event and the heart attack as an injury at work, and that an expert should be appointed to examine the medical causal connection between the exceptional event and the cardiac event.

The judge also added that this judgment is an opportunity to correct a mistake made in the previous judgment of that judge himself. “In reconsidering the matter, the tribunal believes that in the previous judgments an error was made,” the judge ruled in the judgment.

A third appeal was filed with the National Court, this time by the National Insurance Institute. The third appeal was rejected by a majority of opinions. The National Court ruled that “in weighting the proximity of time and the connection of the exceptional event on the one hand to work, we accept the determination that we were dealing with an unusual event with a clear connection to work and in these circumstances

In these short words, the court actually recognizes for the first time a work injury victim who has terminated the employment relationship, thus establishing a new rule. Until this determination, the national court agreed only theoretically to recognize an employee injured after the employment relationship ended, but in practice all claims of employees discussed In the National Labor Court were dismissed.

However, the National Insurance Institute did not say it was desperate, and filed a petition in the Supreme Court on Saturday as the High Court against the National Court. However, the petition was rejected after Adv. Itamar Cohen’s answer was received. The Supreme Court refused to intervene in the judgment of the National Court.