Teva to compensate heirs of employee fired after contracting cancer

Judge Ariella Gilzer-Kats: We were shown a dismal picture, which is inappropriate for a company in a civilized country.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA), long considered the flagship of Israeli industry, has thousands of employees and makes a very big contribution to the economy. It donates to social organizations, and has won awards for its social contribution, and has been named an outstanding employer for its treatment employees called up for reserve military duty.

But bad things are apparently happening beneath the surface at Teva. A recent ruling by the Tel Aviv District Labor Court reveals the bitter story of the late Tali Oren-Blazer, an assistant of former Teva president and CEO Israel Makov, who was fired after she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.

Judge Ariella Gilzer-Kats ruled that Teva fired Oren-Blazer, after the tumor was diagnosed, because of her illness, and ordered the company to pay her heirs NIS 2 million, plus NIS 170,000 in court costs. In the ruling, Judge Gilzer-Kats sharply criticized Teva's conduct, saying, "We were shown a dismal picture, which is inappropriate for a company in a civilized country, especially for a public company."

In its defense, Teva said that it acted properly toward Oren-Blazer, and acted beyond the strict requirement of the law, at both the personal and financial levels. The company said that complaints had been made against Oren-Blazer in her job as assistant to the CEO.

Teva said in response, "Teva president and CEO Jeremy Levin has instructed the company's lawyers not to file an appeal against the ruling."

Teva's current management is not pleased by the company's conduct in the firing of Oren-Blazer. In a letter to employees today, Levin responded to today's court ruling against the company, saying, "I regret our conduct in this affair over the years, and the lack of sensitivity and common sense in the handling of the humane case of Tali, RIP." He added that he had instructed the company to draw lessons from the case.

"I wish to emphasize to you in the strongest way that a situation of this kind should never have begun, and that it contravenes the values of the company," added Levin in the letter, a copy of which "Globes" has obtained.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 6, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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