Sometimes, situations arise which require an employer to terminate an employee's contract of work. It is within the rights of the employer to be able to consider this, either on the grounds of the business', employers or employees situation. But for the termination to be valid it has to be based on reasonable grounds.
The Norwegian employment law has regulations which the employer must abide by.As stated in paragraph 15-1 a meeting must take place before the employer makes a decision concerning redundancy or termination of a contract: "Before making a decision regarding dismissal with notice, the employer shall, to the extent that it is practically possible, discuss the matter with the employee and the employee's elected representatives unless the employee himself does not desire this. Such discussions shall concern both the grounds for dismissal and any selections between two or more employees regarding who is to be dismissed."
The aim of the meeting
There are three aims of this meeting;
To bring all details to light so that the grounds for a possible decision concerning redundancy or termination of a contract will be as accurate and correct as possible, and as to also consider other options than redundancy or termination.
That the redundancy or termination of a contract shall not come as a surprise to the employee.
The employee should also be made to understand the reasons-why me? This is especially applicable in cases concerning company cutbacks.
Duty of notice
It falls to the employer to invite and execute the abovementioned meeting. Even though the employer is legally not required to inform the employee of the nature of the meeting, the employer should make it clear to the employee that the meeting will concern a possible redundancy or termination of a contract. We refer to Virke's template for sending notice.
Who can attend the meeting?
The legal term "elected representatives" does not prevent the employer to bring his/her own advisor to said meeting, for example the company's health and safety officer, a friend, a lawyer etc.
Employee on sick leave
That an employee is on sick leave does not prevent a notice of meeting to be sent. However, consideration should be made depending on the nature of the employee's illness. If it is physically possible for the employee to attend it is within the rights of the employer to demand attendancy of the employee.
Employee does not attend meeting
There are no legal consequences if an employee does not attend despite being served notice, but the consequences can be that the employer will not be held accountable for the fact that the procedural rules have not been followed. The employer should nonetheless provide documentation that several efforts have been made to execute said meeting.
Employee's point of view
In the meeting it is important that the employee is given the opportunity to present his/her views after the employer has explained the grounds of a possible redundancy or termination of contract and if applicable the grounds for which employees that should be let go.
After the meeting the employer must consider what was brought to light in the meeting and based on this make a decision concerning redundancy or termination of contract. The actual letter informing the employer of redundancy or termination of a contract must be sent as recorded delivery or delivered personally to the employee.
There are no requirements that a protocol (minutes) must be in place from a meeting, but this is common and Virke recommend that this is done. The employer writes the protocol, where the different parties' views are presented. You can find a template for this on our membership pages.
Additional requirements in the Norwegian employment law concerning redundancies or termination of contracts
The Norwegian employment law, chapter 15 sets out several formal requirements to the actual letter of termination/redundancy. On our membership pages you will find template suggestions for this letter.