Jerusalem – El Al Employees Complain of Religious Discrimination

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    Jerusalem – Three El Al employees who are observant Jews have complained the company discriminates against them because of their religious preferences.

    All three are cargo operators who keep the Sabbath, which prohibits them from working on Friday night and Saturday.

    They claim that their religious observance has affected their flight standing, and turned to El Al worker’s committee chairman, Yossi Levy, who delivered their complaint to the head of the company.

    According to Levy, the three all work in the cargo department – a role that includes loading and unloading luggage from El Al cargo planes flying to and from Israel. They also deal with technical issues.

    “The boss’ response was, When they stop being religious and keeping Shabbat, then we can talk about shift work,” said Levy.

    An El Al workers’ representative described the comment as outrageous and said “This evokes unpleasant memories of similar accusations thrown at Jews during Europe’s dark ages before the Holocaust.”

    El Al said the complaint had no basis and that they “employ hundreds of workers who observe Shabbat, in every sector of the company.”

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    9 COMMENTS

      • “ And we are made to believe that ElAl us Shomer Shabbos”

        No, of course we are not; that would be ridiculous and untruthful.

        When I was a student at Bar Ilan, I funded my studies by working at El Al at Ben-Gurion Airport. I made it clear to the HR department when I was hired that I am shomer shabbos.

        There were no attempts at coercing me – or any of my frumme colleagues – to be mechalel shabbos or mo’ed. It is quite true that I lost out on the various premiums and extra pay awarded to more secular-minded employees to work on those days, but that did not bother me. Shmiros shabbos was and is much more important.

        But it has to be said that the vast majority of El Al staff have no qualms at working on shabbos. While I do not condone this, ultimately it is their decision to do so.

        • >>>>>>>>>>> It is quite true that I lost out on the various premiums and extra pay awarded to more secular-minded employees to work on those days

          Secular minded employees… Is this the new euphemism for mechalalei Shabbos?

    1. Typical case. Many of us have experienced religious discrimination, but there is no way for us to communicate with one another, give chizuk to one another etc.

      Agudath Israel of America is alone in at least trying to be of help in cases here in the States–by merely referring employees and former employees to law firms which may or may not take the case based on contingency. (Don’t be surprised if you don’t win, as the well-paid corporate attorneys from the employer can wear down the plaintiffs, and meanwhile you are without money).

      The other organizations apparently have no interest in such matters. Ask the OU and NYCI why they won’t help. Ask all Jewish organizations what their policy is. (they have none). Why is there no financial assistance to the law firms fighting these fights? The Seventh Day Adventists have lawyers on retainer who work for them in fighting these cases. Why won’t our community help?

    2. If the comment by the “boss” is correct and verifiable, then not one Frum person should step foot on an ELAL plane untill that person is fired and and an apology is issued from the company.

    3. There is no coercion but a simple reality. Those mechanics and ramp/baggage employees who are not shomer shabbos and are willing to work on shabbos afternoon to prepare the flights that leave motzi shabbos or who service the flights that arrive eruv shabbos earn a premium salary for working overtime. This premium is not available to those who are shomer shabbos and leave the airport friday afternoon when things are chaotic (especially if flights are delayed arrival or those who don’t arrive at the airport until several hours after havdalah when most of the work has been done. El Al doesn’t force anyone to work on shabbos, but those who do are able to get a special bonus since they do work the others won’t do.

    4. That’s why I fly delta or continental or any other airline besides elal you can’t compare their svc to elal.Elal also does not treat religious passengers as nicely(putting it mildly) as those whom are not. religious witnessed several stories your hair would stand up!in all fairness one can say ELAL does discriminate religious passengers as well!

    5. Why is ElAl doing any kind of work on Shabbat? All they do now is not fly on Shabbat, but otherwise, they feel they can do other work on Shabbat. They’re still the same as the original, but we must always bless them to always be safe for the kiddush Hashem of taking Yehudim to Israel. Maybe, these employees could work on them to try to slowly persuade them to do tshuva.

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