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Israel Outlaws Sexism on the Job

The Knesset enacted legislation Tuesday outlawing sexism at the work place and protecting women employees from sexual harassment.

The legislation, considered a landmark for Israel in this field, also provides maternity leave for new fathers.

The bill was introduced by Ora Namir of the Labor Party, who acknowledged the support of Sarah Doron of Likud and Shulamit Aloni and Ran Cohen, both of the Citizens Rights Movement, who had submitted private-members bills on the subject.

The new law prohibits discrimination by sex in employment, work conditions, promotions, professional training, dismissal or compensation for dismissal.

A major provision states that men as well as women will be entitled to post-maternity leave with pay. In addition, a father may obtain paid leave to take care of a sick child. Similar laws exist in Sweden and several other European countries, but they are a rarity world-wide.

The law also makes sexual harassment on the job a criminal offense and will make available legal aid to assist a complainant to bring formal charges. Dismissal because of sex is outlawed and employees so dismissed must be reinstated.

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