Dear Clients and Friends,
Further to our previous publication from February 2022, we would like to update you that the Criminal Information and Rehabilitation of Offenders Law, 5779-2019 (the “Law“), which replaces the Crime Register and Rehabilitation of Offenders Law, 5741-1981, will take effect as of July 12, 2022, after its effective date was postponed several times to enable the necessary technological preparations.
The Law is meant to redefine the balance between the need to document an individual’s criminal history in a database, in order to protect the public interest, and the goal of encouraging individuals with a criminal record (including those charged with an offense but not convicted) to turn over a new leaf and integrate in society.
According to the Law’s explanatory notes, the committee that submitted recommendations on the Law stressed the interest of rehabilitation and the importance of integrating individuals with a criminal record in society and in the job market, placing less emphasis on the interest of the employer to receive basic information about the criminal past of an employee or job applicant (for example, by means of an affidavit).
The following are the main changes introduced by the Law:
1. Under the previous law, any person could request from the Israel Police a printout of the criminal information about him and provide the printout to anyone else, including his employer.
Under the current Law:
- There is no possibility of receiving a printout, copy or photocopy of a person’s criminal information.
- A person may review his criminal record only on a computer screen at a police station (other than in exceptional cases, such as a request by an attorney).
The legislator thus sought to prevent the possibility that an employee or job applicant should provide a printout of information about his criminal past, at the request of an employer or any other entity or at his own initiative, thereby circumventing the provisions of the Law.
2. Under the previous law, pursuant to a ruling issued by the Israeli Supreme Court in 2013, there was no sweeping prohibition on an employer requesting an employee to provide an affidavit or written statement about his criminal past, and in exceptional cases such a request could be regarded as legitimate (CA 8189/11 Dayan v. Mifal Hapayis) (the “Dayan case“).
The current Law nullifies the ruling in the Dayan case, establishing an absolute prohibition on requesting criminal information from a person in any way, directly or indirectly, in an affidavit, statement or written questionnaire, even if the person has agreed to such a request.
3. The Law prohibits entities that are not entitled under the Law to receive information from the Criminal Register (primarily public bodies) to consider a person’s criminal record when hiring him, even if the employer learned about the criminal record from the employee, who shared this information at his own initiative, or from the media, or in any other way.
It should be noted that a violation of the Law may be deemed a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment, with anyone who requests criminal information contrary to the Law liable to a prison term of one year, and if he does so for purposes of employment or a decision regarding the person who is the subject of the information – to a prison term of two years.
We shall be pleased to answer any question or provide any clarification.
Labor Law Department
Shiboleth Law Firm
This update is provided as general information only and may not be relied upon in any individual case without additional legal advice.