Homble Olsby | Littler updates

Invalid termination? Court rules on termination of graphic designers following business transfer
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Norway
  • 13 January 2021

The High Court Civil Division recently ruled on whether the termination of two graphic designers from Dagbladet newspaper following a major reorganisation and downsizing process had been valid. A particular point of contention was whether the case processing had been sufficient. The court assessed whether the terminations were valid, the postponement of the service was to be regarded as a business transfer and the graphic designers were entitled to compensation for non-pecuniary damage.

Historic ruling on compensation for gender discrimination
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Norway
  • 06 January 2021

For the first time in history, the Anti-discrimination Tribunal has awarded a remedy for non-economic loss and compensation for gender discrimination in the workplace. The case concerned a female applicant who, after being offered a job, informed the employer that she would be going on maternity leave shortly. The tribunal decided that the employer had discriminated against the applicant based on her gender and highlighted that pregnant jobseekers need not disclose their pregnancy.

Government proposes to extend right to care and sickness benefits and increased unemployment benefit rate
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Norway
  • 23 December 2020

As it is difficult to predict the impact that the COVID-19 infection control measures will have on the labour market, the government has proposed to prolong the extended right to care and sickness benefits until the end of June 2021 and March 2021, respectively. In addition, the government has put forward proposals for a continued increase in the unemployment benefit rate until the end of March 2021.

Money, money, money: pension scheme reform to enter into force in early 2021
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Norway
  • 16 December 2020

Earlier in 2020, draft regulations on 'own pension accounts' were released for consultation. The new rules will enter into force at the beginning of 2021. The changes aim to make it easier for employees to receive the best possible pension. Employees will be able to choose who will manage their pension capital, which will lead to greater competition in the market.

Promises of early retirement: Supreme Court rules on employers' right to manage
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Norway
  • 09 December 2020

The Supreme Court recently ruled on whether agreements regarding severance packages in the event of voluntary resignation, which were entered into during a downsizing process, could be partly set aside because they were contrary to good business practices or unreasonableness. To answer this question, the Supreme Court had to decide whether the employees were entitled to an early retirement pension in such a process based on the previous employer's promise.

New ruling on principle of equal treatment for hired workers
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Norway
  • 02 December 2020

The Supreme Court recently ruled on whether hired personnel were entitled to a company bonus on an equal footing with permanent employees and apprentices in the company in which they were hired pursuant to the equal treatment rule in Section 14-12a of the Working Environment Act. This article analyses the ruling and highlights the key points for employers.

Proposal to maintain increased unemployment benefit throughout 2020
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Norway
  • 23 September 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has implemented several measures to secure jobs, boost the labour market and maintain stability for the workforce, including increasing the unemployment benefit. This temporary amendment originally applied until 31 October 2020. However, the government is set to propose a budget resolution before Parliament to extend the increased unemployment benefit to 31 December 2020.

COVID-19: proposal to extend lay-off period to 52 weeks
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Norway
  • 16 September 2020

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has proposed to extend the temporary lay-off period to 52 weeks from 1 November 2020. The extension will help the business community financially during an uncertain time. This implies that, among other things, the period in which temporarily laid-off employees may be entitled to unemployment benefits will be extended from 26 weeks to 52 weeks.

COVID-19: change to period in which employers have payroll obligation when temporarily laying off employees
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Norway
  • 09 September 2020

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has implemented several measures to protect businesses, jobs and workers. The government recently adopted changes to the period in which employers have a duty of remuneration when temporarily laying off employees. From 1 September 2020, the duty of remuneration period will be 10 days.

COVID-19: payroll support for bringing temporarily laid-off employees back to work
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Norway
  • 01 July 2020

The government has proposed a temporary arrangement under which employers can apply for payroll support to bring their laid-off employees back to work. The grounds for the proposal are that the number of temporarily laid-off employees is still high (as of 2 June 2020, nearly 330,000 full or partially unemployed individuals were registered). The support scheme aims to reduce the number of laid-off individuals and counteract the risk that unemployment in Norway will stabilise at a high level.

COVID-19: temporary changes for laid-off employees who belong to private pension schemes
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Norway
  • 24 June 2020

In order to deal with the financial consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak, Parliament has adopted temporary amendments to the rules for temporarily laid-off employees who belong to private pension schemes. As such, employers may choose to allow laid-off employees to retain their membership with a pension scheme during the lay-off period. The individual employee must bear the cost of continuing insurance for the membership, while the business must continue to pay the administrative costs.

COVID-19 FAQs: recalling workers who have been temporarily laid off
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Norway
  • 17 June 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are relaxed and society gradually reopens, employers may need to call laid-off employees back to work. This article answers FAQs for employers which find themselves in this situation, including when does the temporary lay-off period end, who should be called back to work first and can employers bring employees back part time?

Workforce reductions and length of service
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Norway
  • 26 February 2020

A recent Supreme Court ruling states that the principle of length of service affects companies' possibility to limit the scope for workforce reductions. This applies to companies bound by a collective bargaining agreement that contains a provision concerning the use of length of service in workforce reductions.

Gender equality: further duties for employers
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Norway
  • 19 February 2020

From 1 January 2020 the Equality and Anti-discrimination Act has been amended, imposing further duties on employers regarding equality and discrimination. Companies in the public sector and companies with more than 50 employees in the private sector must now carry out a mapping of pay with regard to gender and the uptake of part-time work every two years.

Employer liable for customer's sexual harassment of employee
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Norway
  • 11 September 2019

A recent district court ruling demonstrates that an employer can be liable for a customer's sexual harassment towards an employee. The ruling shows that, as a minimum, employers should perform a risk analysis of and have a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment, have guidelines on sexual harassment matters and immediately address sexual harassment situations if they occur.

Recent labour law amendments
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Norway
  • 10 July 2019

Norway's labour legislation has undergone a number of amendments in recent months. For example, Parliament recently adopted a proposal to further strengthen the position of whistleblowers and amendments enhancing the rights of seafarers are set to enter into force in August 2019. In addition, in order to lower the threshold for processing sexual harassment disputes, the Anti-discrimination Tribunal has been authorised to enforce the prohibition on sexual harassment in the workplace.

Supreme Court rules on threshold for amendment terminations
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Norway
  • 19 June 2019

The Supreme Court recently ruled in a case concerning the validity of an amendment termination. In its decision, the court commented on the difference between the threshold for amendment terminations and that for ordinary complete terminations of employment. Although the matter at hand was regulated by the Ship Employee Act, the Supreme Court's judgment is relevant for amendment terminations under the Working Environment Act.

Proposal to strengthen position of whistleblowers
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Norway
  • 08 May 2019

Parliament is processing a proposal for amendments to employment legislation concerning whistleblowers to further strengthen their position. The amendments are expected to be effective from 1 July 2019 or 1 January 2020. The main proposed amendments include an extension of the scope of persons subject to the whistleblowing provisions and clarification of the terms 'censurable conditions' and 'retaliation'.

Can several companies within a group employ an employee?
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Norway
  • 06 March 2019

In a recent case, a number of Norwegian Airlines pilots and cabin crew claimed that three of the companies in the Norwegian Group constituted their employer. However, the Supreme Court concluded that only one of the companies constituted their employer. This ruling clarifies the factors which are relevant in assessing whether the engagement of personnel is considered an acquisition of services or a hiring of personnel.

Discrimination based on religious grounds: employee's refusal to shake hands with women
Homble Olsby | Littler
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Norway
  • 23 January 2019

The Anti-discrimination Tribunal recently concluded that a municipality's refusal to extend a temporary employee's contract after he refused to meet their requirement to shake hands with women did not constitute discrimination. However, the tribunal concluded that the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration had discriminated against the employee when it cancelled his social aid following his refusal to comply with the municipality's requirement.

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