A committee was established to assess the provisions on protection of whistleblowers. The committee shall hand in their assessment in the spring of 2018.
The Supreme Court found that an individual agreement with an employee is not in and of itself sufficient to limit the management prerogative, and that in this particular case the content of the agreement was not considered to bind the employer.
Doctors, economists and lawyers employed at hospitals went on strike on 7 September 2016. The workers had been negotiating with hospital management concerning working hours, and especially the working hours for the doctors, but did not reach an agreement. 628 members of were on strike in 15 different hospitals. On 11 October 2016, Labour Minister Anniken Hauglie of the Conservative Party, ordered an end to Norway’s longest hospital strike ever due to the concern that the hospitals could not provide sufficient medical assistance. All striking doctors and other medical professionals were ordered back to work immediately and the dispute must now be settled through compulsory arbitration.
Government has issued for consultation a draft law on state employees. The law will replace the existing law and partly seeks a harmonization with the Working Environment Act. The draft law was sent to the Parliament for hearing.
35 workers were dismissed from their employment due to downsizing. Two workers brought an action claiming that the dismissal was invalid, partly because the seniority calculation was done incorrectly. The employer demanded that the plaintiffs should resign their positions while the case was pending. Based on the company’s difficult operating situation, the court found that the employer’s interest was predominant.
A new Working Environmental Act for Public Workers is in progress and a suggestion has been sent out on hearing.
Pursuant to the Working Environmental Act § 15-11, as a main rule, the employee has the right to remain in his or her position even though he has been terminated, as long as negotiations are in progress and until the Court has finally decided the outcome of whether the termination is legal. The Gulating Court of Appeal decided that even though the termination of an employee was justified due to circumstances with the employee himself, it was not “unfair” that the employee remained in his position. The conclusion was reached after an overall assessment of the short period of time before the case would be resolved by the court, the fact that the employee could still execute his tasks, and that the employer was not pressed financially.
An employee was given a warning for his behaviour in the workplace. The employee took action against the leader who issued the warning to declare it null and void and the employer subsequently dismissed the employee. The Court of Appeal found the dismissal to be lawful and stated that if the employee wanted to check the validity of the warning, he should have filed a claim against the company, not his colleague. The action was a strain on the colleague and dismissal was thus lawful.
The age limit for termination of employment on account of age was raised last year from 67 to 70. Pursuant to the commencement provisions, the age limits within the workplace will not enter into force until 1 July 2016, provided that that age limit was set before 1 July 2015. However, as of 1 July 2016, employers must ensure that their workplace age limit is raised to 70. If the employer wants to maintain a lower age limit, it must discuss this with the employee representatives and ensure that the age limit is communicated to the employees, that it is practiced consistently and that an employee has a satisfactory occupational pension.
Pursuant to the Working Environment Act (WEA) a part-time employee has priority to enlarge her post, before the employer can hire a new person for a vacant position. In administrative practices, it has long been assumed that a part-time employee also has priority to part of the vacant position. In a recent ruling, the Supreme Court stated that this administrative practice and interpretation of the law is incorrect. The Court ruled that the part-time employee must claim priority to the entire vacant position to exercise her right to priority.