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21 suspected salmonella infections from Strauss products

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There are so far 21 cases of suspected salmonella infections from the Strauss Group Ltd. (TASE:STRS) Elite factory in Nof Hagalil. The connection between the cases and Strauss has not yet been confirmed, although samples have been taken from 16 of the patients and results will be received in the coming few days. Six of the suspected salmonella patients required hospitalization.




Even if the patients are diagnosed with salmonella, it will not be 100% certain that they were infected after consuming Elite chocolate, as there are anyway other cases of the illness in Israel, although if there are samples of Elite chocolate in the patients homes, these can be tested.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Health has published a series of flaws in the way the Elite Nof Hagalil factory has been operated and which likely led to the introduction of salmonella. One customer had already reported that there was possibly salmonella in their Elite chocolate but no tests were conducted by the factory following the complaint. Pigeons had entered the factory several months ago and could have been the source of the contamination. Among other things, the Ministry of Health found that the factory’s quality control team had undergone changes over the past year and there was temporarily no food safety manager at the factory.

Strauss Group has 14 days to respond to the Ministry of Health’s report. Meanwhile the Ministry of Health has suspended the factory’s quality standard for three months, meaning that it will not be allowed to manufacture products.

Most significantly, salmonella contamination seems to be widespread within the factory with 30 samples positive for salmonella out of 300 taken.

The affair had led to one of the biggest product recalls, which has ever taken place in Israel encompassing all products of the factory affected: Elite chocolate, Elite cakes, Elite waffles, Energy snack bars, Energy chocolate covered rice crackers, chewing gum and soft sweets, with all expiry dates.

Strauss Group’s share price has fallen 8% since the affair began last week and is down 18% since the start of February. The sharep price has recovered somewhat and rose 1.68% today, giving a market cap of NIS 10.5 billion.

Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on May 1, 2022.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2022.


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Howard Levitt: These are the HR sins that constantly come back to bite employers

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Many of these may seem superficially counterintuitive, but the consequences can be significant

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Acting as I do for many of the largest companies in the land and many small and medium— and with a firm which acts against many others — I see human resources managers make the same mistakes, over and over. This week and in next Saturday’s column, I’ll look at some of the biggest repeated blunders, from overdocumentation to the inconsistent application of company policies. Many of these may seem superficially counterintuitive, but the consequences can be significant.

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Overdocumentation

Years ago, the late, great relocation counsellor Murray Axmith and I went from Halifax to Vancouver twice a year teaching a course called “Rightful Dismissal in the ’90s.” I used to start my portion with, “What are the three most important things for HR managers to do: 1) Document; 2) Document; and 3) Document.”

I was wrong! I have seen and heard of too many employer cases lost over the years because of excessive documentation.

HR managers must remember that, in any piece of litigation, they are required by law to produce to the other side copies of all documents touching upon the matters at issue. So if an HR manager is studiously writing down the good, the bad and the ugly, they are as likely as not recording things which play into the other side’s theory of the case or be devastating to their own.

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When recording anything which might relate to future litigation, keep one thing in mind: The other side will see it. In other words, what I have learned since those early seminars is that documentation will kill your case as often as make it, perhaps even more often.

Using standard form warnings

When employers want to terminate an employee for cause the next time she or he commits an infraction, they should say precisely that.

Don’t use the usual human resource verbiage of: “Further such incidents will lead to further discipline, up to and including dismissal.”

What that expression means legally (and in common English) is that the next time the employee does it, they might be dismissed or they might not be. It telegraphs to a judge or arbitrator that even the employer believes that the infraction is not sufficiently serious that its repetition necessarily justifies discharge.

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Court cases have found that such language means that the next infraction must be at the very top level of the range of serious misconduct in order to warrant dismissal. But that is not what HR managers intend, most of the time, when they use that language. What they mean is “similar misconduct will result in your dismissal for cause.”

Just say that in your letter.

Accepting the word of their ‘favourites’

When an employee makes a serious complaint but it is denied by their supervisor or someone who has more credibility with HR, too many HR reps simply accept the superior’s word for what occurred or enter the investigation already biased. Although that may be, to some extent, psychologically unavoidable, you should never prejudge the outcome of an investigation because of your personal belief in a party’s relative credibility. Not only will that lead to terrible internal morale with allegations of favourtism, but it can give rise to potential legal action by the effected employee for negligence, constructive dismissal or worse. Walk into every investigation or fact-finding session with an open mind and investigate every, even moderately serious, allegation.

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Refusing to discharge because of new allegations

Some employees, knowing that they are about to be dismissed, will file allegations of poor treatment (just as they will get doctor’s notes) hoping to bulletproof themselves from any discharge because the company fears being accused of retaliating.

Don’t fall for that. If an employee’s misconduct warrants their dismissal, proceed to do so. If they make allegations of poor conduct by a manager which would not affect the dismissal even if true, you can still conduct the investigation. If the employee has made a good point, you might still need to investigate the person accused and even discipline if warranted. But that does not let the employee off the hook for matters that would warrant dismissal even if the accusations were accurate.

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Allowing poor performance or misconduct to linger

If an employer has cause, it must act on it. Not doing so constitutes condonation making it very difficult to terminate that employee later on for the same type of misconduct. At the very least, if they do not wish to terminate the employee at that time, they should provide a warning that the employee will be terminated if such misconduct ever recurs.

Failing to document your practices

If an employee claims that your practices are inconsistent or that they have been arbitrarily deprived of some benefit, it is helpful to have written records to demonstrate that your practice and policies establish a previous consistent practice.

Inconsistent application of policies

Nothing kills the right to enforce a policy like the company having not followed it itself or applying it inconsistently.

Part two of this column will appear in next Saturday’s Financial Post. 

Got a question about employment law? Write to Howard at levitt@levittllp.com.

Howard Levitt is senior partner of Levitt Sheikh, employment and labour lawyers with offices in Toronto and Hamilton. He practices employment law in eight provinces. He is the author of six books including the Law of Dismissal in Canada. 

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Welspun’s US arm bags a single order worth ₹5,000 cr

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Welspun Corp Ltd has received the highest-ever single order worth ₹5,000 crore for supply of pipes in the US.

The order is for supply of 325,000 tonnes of large diameter coated pipes for transporting natural gas from the Permian Basin to Houston. The order executed from the company’s Little Rock plant, and will be executed over 12 months, starting FY23 second half.

The US arm had received a similar order of 26,000 tonne last April from a long-standing customer in North America and another from Australia.

With this, the company’s order book (excluding Saudi) stands at 704,000 tonnes valued at about ₹10,500 crore.

Vipul Mathur, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Welspun Corp, said the single largest order comes out of the understanding of customer’s needs, quality orientation and execution track record coupled with modern technology and innovation.

The pan-global order book and successive wins in a highly competitive environment validate the company’s global leadership position in this segment, he added.

“We are confident that given the prevailing high energy prices and increasing demand scenario, further opportunities are likely to arise over the mid-to-long term in both the global and the US market. This will enable the company converting opportunities into business and profitable order book at Welspun Corp over the next few years,” it said.

The shares of the company gained nearly 17 per cent to close at ₹244.30 on Friday.

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May 20, 2022

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Rupee vs Dollar Today: Latest news here

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The rupee inched 3 paise higher to close at 77.53 (provisional) against US dollar on Friday, supported by a rebound in domestic equities.

At the interbank forex market, the rupee opened at 77.51 against the greenback and moved in a range of 77.49 to 77.60 in the day’s trade.

The rupee finally ended at 77.53, higher by 3 paise over its previous close of 77.56.

According to Dilip Parmar, Research Analyst, HDFC Securities, the lack of dollar demand and rebound in domestic equities augur well for the rupee.

The dollar is about 2 percent off its recent high, seen last week, as risk-assets rebound after the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) announced a 15 bps cut in the 5-year Loan Prime Rate to support the economy.

The dollar index marked the first weekly decline after six weeks of upward movement, driven by position liquidation and preference for other currencies to emerge at a lower level.

On the domestic equity market front, the BSE Sensex rebounded 1,534.16 points or 2.91 per cent to end at 54,326.39, while the broader NSE Nifty jumped 456.75 points or 2.89 per cent to 16,266.15.

The dollar index, which gauges the greenback’s strength against a basket of six currencies, rose 0.15 percent to 102.88.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers in the capital market on Thursday as they offloaded shares worth Rs 4,899.92 crore, as per stock exchange data.

Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, rose 0.10 percent to USD 112.15 per barrel. 

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