By: Junior associate Stina G. Johnsen
In the event of termination of employment it’s crucial to know whether the gounds of termination and the termination procedure is by the books and in accordance with the Labor Act. It’s important to be aware of the rights and claims one has as an employee in such circumstances.
Before the employer makes a decision to terminate, the main rule is that the issue must be discussed with the employee in a formal meeting, of which the employee has to be noticed in advance and may bring council.
There are different rules pertaining to layoffs, terminations and dismissals. In the event of a dismissal, the employment is immediately terminated. The usual notice of termination must be given one month in advance. This does not apply if the employee is employed for a specific probationary period. During the period of notice, the employment functions regularly. As a main rule, the employee has the right to both receive wages and to execute work during the period of notice.
A termination for all intents and purposes should be given in writing. An employee’s termination may be given orally, but due to evidentiary issues it should be written. Furthermore, there are specific requirements as to what information a termination from the employer must contain. If the employer’s termination is not written or does not contain such information, the termination may become invalid. An employee may also claim compensation for both financial and non-financial losses.
An employee cannot be terminated if it is not objectively justified on the basis of circumstances relating to the undertaking, the employer or the employee. The threshold for termination of employment is high, and the employer must be able to prove good reasons. The employer has the burden of proof that the decision is based on a correct factual basis. If the termination of the employee is not objectively justified, the termination may become invalid. An employee may also claim compensation for financial and non-financial losses.
If the employee wants the termination to be declared invalid because of a formal error, there is a lawsuit deadline of four months. In other instances, the lawsuit deadline is eight weeks in the event of a termination or dismissal dispute. If the employee only claims compensation, the lawsuit deadline is six months. In order to resolve any conflict, however, it is important that the claim is made as early as possible so that it is possible to conclude a solution that both parties think is reasonable. This applies both with regard to a possibility of continuation of the employment and with regard to determining a possible compensation sum. Therefore, it will always be best to consult a lawyer early.