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Norway - Avenues for redress (penalties, remedies) and litigation procedure for individual complaints

Avenues for redress (penalties, remedies) and litigation procedure for individual complaints - Norway - 2017    

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Compensation for unfair dismissal - free determination by court: Yes

  • Art. 15-12(2) WEA states that employees may claim compensation if the dismissal is effected in violation of the provisions on protection against certain types of dismissal (including dismissal during the probationary period, unfair dismissal, dismissal in the event of sickness, dismissal during pregnancy .... (art. 15-6 to 15-11 WEA).
    Compensation shall be fixed at the amount the court deems reasonable in view of the financial loss, circumstances relating to the employer and employee and other facts of the case.

Compensation for unfair dismissal - Are there legal limits?: No

Reinstatement available: Yes

  • -In Norway, employee may claim that the dismissal is invalid and request that the employment relationship continues. Such shall be initiated within or 8 weeks from the end of the negotiations between the employer and employee unlike compensation claims for which the timeframe is 6 months (art.17-4(1) WEA).

    -When claimed by the employee, a notice of termination may be declared invalid if it is not based on objective grounds or in violation of the provisions on the protection against dismissal in certain cases (pregnancy, sickness, ....).
    In the case of a dispute concerning the validity of a notice of termination, the employment will remain in force until the final settlement of the dispute.
    In special cases, if so demanded by the employer, the court may decide that the employment shall be terminated if it finds it clearly unreasonable that employment should continue (art. 15-12 WEA).

    - According to OECD table on Employment Protection Legislation in Norway (2008), reinstatement orders are fairly frequent in practice.

Preliminary mandatory conciliation: No

  • In Norway, most civil disputes are considered initially by the Conciliation Boards (forliksrådet). However, according to Art. 17-1 (3) WEA, the Conciliation Boards do no hear individual complaints related to unlawful dismissals and other claims mentioned in Art. 17-3 WEA. These cases are to be brought before the district court directly. [See also Ch. 6, Art 6-2 (f) of the Mediation and Civil Proceedings Act (No. 28 of 2012) ( Lov om mekling og rettergang i sivile tvister (tvisteloven).]

    It is worth noting that according to art. 17-3 WEA, employees claiming that a dismissal with notice or summary dismissal is unlawful, or that it is a breach of the provisions of this Act concerning preferential rights may demand negotiations with the employer within 2 weeks from the date of the dismissal or the date the employer rejected a claim from an employee concerning preferential right to a new post.
    The employer has an obligation to ensure that a meeting for negotiations is held as early as possible and, at the latest, within two weeks of receiving the request.
    The negotiations must be completed not later than two weeks after the date of the first negotiation meeting unless the parties agree to continue the negotiations.

Competent court(s) / tribunal(s): ordinary courts

  • - Individual disputes (for instance dismissal and termination of employment) are handled by ordinary courts (alminnelige domstoler) according to Art 17-1 WEA, the Mediation and Civil Proceedings Act (No. 28 of 2012) and the Courts of Justice Act (No. 5 of 1915).

    - According to art. 17-4 WEA, the time period for claiming an unfair dismissal is eight weeks from conclusion of the negotiation between the parties or from the date of the dismissal if no negotiations took place).
    - If an employee claims compensation only, the time limit shall be six months. In individual cases, the parties may agree
    upon a longer time limit for initiating legal proceedings. If the dismissal does not meet the formal statutory requirements with regard to notice of dismissal, there is no time limit for such claims.

    - In Norway, Labour Courts exist but their jurisdiction is, essentially, confined to collective disputes of rights. They do not have jurisdiction over individual disputes.
    They are competent to hear disputes concerning the interpretation, application and validity of collective agreements, in cases of breach of agreements and of the contractual or statutory "peace obligation" and in cases of claims for damages resulting from such breaches. There are however, two exceptions:

    1) Individual workers and employers are liable in damages for breach of a collective agreement or of the peace obligation. Claims for indemnification in such cases lie within the Labour Court's jurisdiction.

    2) In addition, in a case concerning a collective agreement, the Labour Court may give a decision on individual claims being contingent on the decision given on the collective agreement issue at hand. Solely provided that this can be done without it being necessary to resolve further questions on evidence or legal problems in order to dispose of the individual claims. (See The Labour Disputes Act (lov om arbeidstvister (arbeidstvistloven) )

Existing arbitration: Yes

  • - In Norway, parties may agree to have the dispute settled by arbitration. This is regulated by The Arbitration Act of 2004.
    (see Eurofound: Individual disputes at the workplace - alternative disputes resolution - link provided below under "source of additional information").

    - In addition, in respect of the chief executive of the undertaking, art. 15-16 WEA provides that "the employer may enter into a written agreement with the chief executive of the undertaking to the effect that disputes in connection with termination of the employment relationship shall be settled by means of arbitration".