Following consultation in 2019, an executive order on the psychological working environment has been issued by the Working Environment Authority. The executive order aims to clarify the psychological working environment rules for employers and employees in order to facilitate the prevention of mental wellbeing issues. The executive order entered into force on 1 November 2020.
If an employee makes an invention as part of an employment relationship and if the exploitation of the invention falls within their employer's field of work, the employee must inform their employer. The Maritime and Commercial Court recently found that an engineer had not duly informed his employer of an invention and had therefore failed to discharge his duty to provide information under the Act on Employee Inventions.
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has published the legislative programme for the 2020/2021 parliamentary year, which includes bills relating to, among other things, maternity leave and sickness benefits, the reporting of occupational accidents, the state retirement age, compensation in regard to workplace violence and protection against discrimination for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.
In May 2020 a bill was passed to provide sickness benefits to employees who are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 or the relative of a person who is at a higher risk. The temporary scheme ran until 31 August 2020. Parliament has now passed a new bill which, among other things, extends this scheme until 31 December 2020.
Under the Act on Equal Treatment of Men and Women, if an employee is dismissed while on pregnancy or maternity leave, the employer will have the onus of proving that the dismissal was not in any way connected to these circumstances. But what does it take for an employer to discharge the reversed burden of proof? The Supreme Court recently decided this issue.
The Data Protection Agency recently completed five inspections which focused on employers' duty to provide information when using control measures to monitor employees. The decisions emphasise that employers should be diligent in informing employees about measures that allow the monitoring of employees and, to the greatest extent practicable, ensure that the information required by Articles 13 and 14 of the EU General Data Protection Regulation is given to employees in an easily accessible form.
The government and the social partners recently agreed to establish a new temporary work distribution scheme in order to prevent dismissals. Based on the tripartite agreement, a new work distribution scheme will be established by statute and all employers will be able to use this scheme. Employers may still apply the existing work distribution rules but not concurrently with the new rules.
The government and parliamentary parties recently passed a bill to provide sickness benefits to employees who are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 or the relative of a person in the higher-risk group. The scheme originally applied to absences up to and including 31 August 2020, but the government and a majority in Parliament have now agreed to extend the scheme on the same terms up to and including 31 December 2020.
Under the EU General Data Protection Regulation, data controllers must provide data subjects with access to all of the personal data that the data controller processes about them if the data subject requests it. In a recent case, the Data Protection Agency considered whether an employer was entitled to refuse to provide access to all of the contents of a former employee's work email account.
The Data Protection Agency recently issued a decision seriously criticising an employer which did not respond adequately after receiving a deletion request from a former employee relating to video content. The decision demonstrates that employers must carefully consider whether a request for deletion constitutes a withdrawal of consent, as any personal data processed on the basis of the consent must be deleted without undue delay, unless the employer (already) has another lawful basis for the processing.
The Western High Court recently ruled that an employee who had entered into a severance agreement – and was represented by her professional organisation during this process – was barred from claiming compensation under the Anti-discrimination Act. Pursuant to this ruling, employers should bear in mind that when a severance agreement contains a provision in full and final settlement of any possible claims between the employee and employer, the provision must be interpreted according to its wording.
The government and Parliament recently made a series of political agreements to expand and extend the current economic stimulus packages regarding COVID-19, including the compensation schemes regarding wages and fixed costs, and to implement various new measures. This article outlines the impact of these agreements on employers and employees during the COVID-19 crisis.
The government has enacted a bill on wage compensation for private sector employers. In addition to the act, the Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs has issued an executive order on the wage compensation scheme. The bill and executive order reflect the agreement between the government and the social partners regarding wage compensation for businesses which, as a consequence of the current economic situation, are facing dismissals.
As part of its COVID-19 measures, the government has adopted changes to the Executive Order on Payment of Unemployment Benefits to facilitate the implementation of distribution of work plans. Distribution of work plans can be implemented to allow employees to receive supplementary unemployment benefits during the period in which the plan is in force (up to 13 weeks).
A bill amending the Sickness Benefits Act has recently been enacted to mitigate the economic consequences of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic for employers and self-employed persons. The bill extends the scope of employers' right to reimbursement of sickness benefits and self-employed persons' right to receive sickness benefits, provided that the sickness absence is caused by COVID-19.
The Labour Court has ruled that a bank could prohibit its employees from investing in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. This decision is an example of the way in which employers' managerial rights can, in certain situations, entail a right to establish rules for transactions or dealings that directly relate to employees' private life.
The Board of Equal Treatment recently concluded that the fact that a replacement worker in a cleaning company had received fewer shifts during her pregnancy did not constitute gender discrimination. The board concluded that the worker had not established any facts that indicated that her pregnancy had been instrumental to the reduction of her working hours or the fact that she had not been permanently employed.
A district court has confirmed a 2018 Equal Treatment Board finding that the dismissal of a female wheelchair user who had just returned from maternity leave contravened the Anti-discrimination Act and the Act on Equal Treatment of Men and Women. The decision emphasises that employers which implement redundancies for operational reasons for employees with disabilities should always be able to explain in detail why it is the employee with the disability who is a candidate for redundancy.
In a recent case, the courts ruled that an employer was not liable to pay damages for an injury sustained by a temp in a car accident when driving from her home to her temporary place of work. Pursuant to the Workers' Compensation Act, an accident is recognised as an industrial injury only if it is a consequence of the work or working conditions. This judgment supports existing case law that accidents occurring during transport to and from an employee's place of work are not covered by the act.
A care assistant was treated in a sexually offensive manner by a disabled individual for whom she had been hired to care. The Eastern High Court determined that the care assistant's employer was not responsible for the disabled individual's behaviour, but that her subsequent dismissal contravened the Act on Equal Treatment of Men and Women.