The Prevention Of Sexual Harassment Law: 25 Years On

Law Firmlus Laboris
Subject MatterEmployment and HR, Discrimination, Disability & Sexual Harassment
AuthorMs Liat Shaked-Katz (Herzog Fox & Neeman) and Abigail Borowitz (Herzog Fox & Neeman)
Published date22 May 2023

To mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of Israel's Prevention of Sexual Harassment Law, we take a look at the key features of Israel's approach to preventing sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as some steps employers should take to comply with the Law.

This March, the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Law 1998 celebrated 25 years. The passage of this law by the Knesset was an inspiring moment, with women from all parties uniting in order to ensure the approval of this unprecedented law. The Law, which is still considered one of the most comprehensive and advanced in this field, provides a clear definition of sexual harassment, places a number of obligations on employers and also states how complaints of sexual harassment or retaliation against those reporting it must be handled.

The Law has been amended several times since 1998 in response to changing times. Israel's Labour Courts also play an active role in determining how the Law should be interpreted and implemented, and not a year goes by without important case-law developments in this area.

While this update cannot cover all aspects of this complex law, we can provide the following important insights and tips.

The Purpose of the Law

The Law prohibits sexual harassment in order to protect individuals' dignity, freedom and privacy, and to promote gender equality. In Israel, sexual harassment law applies equally to all genders.

How is Sexual Harassment defined?

Sexual harassment is defined as:

  • Repeated overtures or references of a sexual nature, if the other party has expressed a lack of interest;
  • Blackmail of a sexual nature;
  • Making a derogatory reference to another person's sex gender or sexuality, including to his or her sexual orientation;
  • Doing any act intended for sexual gratification or degradation without another person's consent;
  • Publishing a photograph, recording or video focusing on a person's sexuality in circumstances where the person may be humiliated or degraded, without their consent.

The prohibition on publishing harassing photographs, recordings and videos was only added to the Law a few years ago. These new forms of harassment have become more common with advances in technology and our increasing use of social media.

In cases involving sexual overtures or references of a sexual nature, the behaviour must be repeated in order to be considered sexual harassment under the Law. Other forms of harassment, such as derogatory references concerning another person's sex or sexuality...

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