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Single parent could remain employed despite summary dismissal

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calendar 12 June 2022
globus Norway

Summarily dismissed employees cannot usually remain in their position during court proceedings. In a recent case however, the Norwegian Court of Appeal’s did not follow this main rule. The decisive factor for letting the employee remain in her job was that it was likely that the summary dismissal was unlawful.

A single parent that was the head of administration and marketing in a company was terminated because of a lack of trust and discontent. However, shortly after the termination and during the notice period, the employee was invited to a discussion meeting about a possible summary dismissal due to an agreement she had entered into.

After the meeting, she received a summary dismissal. The company’s reaction was a result of the employee having negotiated an agreement without the right to sign. As a result of that agreement, the company was committed to let a supplier advertise towards its customers, which reflected upon it negatively.

In the employee’s following claim for an unjustified summary dismissal, she requested to remain in her position during the court proceedings. This issue therefore had to be considered before deciding on the summary dismissal.

Lack of action was acceptance

The Norwegian Court of Appeal concluded that the employee could remain in her position during the court proceedings. This was because the court found it doubtful that the summary dismissal was justified, after an initial review of the case.

Although the right to sign was not part of the employee’s job description, she had committed the company to similar agreements on several previous occasions. As the company had neither questioned nor sanctioned the employee for this previously, the company had accepted that this was part of her job. It was also emphasized that the agreement had not committed or affected the company in any economic way.

Social considerations also played a part in this decision. The employee was the sole provider of two children, had a mortgage and would not receive social security payments before several months after the summary dismissal. A summary dismissal would therefore have a significant, negative affect on the employee.

IUNO’s opinion

Contrary to terminations, summarily dismissed employees will as a main rule not have the right to remain in their position during court proceedings. As a summary dismissal significantly affects the employee, as in this case, an exception applies when it is doubtful that the summary dismissal is justified. When deciding this, the court will consider social considerations.

When considering a summary dismissal, IUNO recommends that companies consider how an employee will be affected. For example, an employee’s old age, disease or handicap can affect the employee’s chances of gaining new employment. Whether a summary dismissal is justified must therefore be considered up against the interest of both parties.

[The Norwegian Court of Appeal’s judgement LB-2022-63021 of 12 May 2022]

A single parent that was the head of administration and marketing in a company was terminated because of a lack of trust and discontent. However, shortly after the termination and during the notice period, the employee was invited to a discussion meeting about a possible summary dismissal due to an agreement she had entered into.

After the meeting, she received a summary dismissal. The company’s reaction was a result of the employee having negotiated an agreement without the right to sign. As a result of that agreement, the company was committed to let a supplier advertise towards its customers, which reflected upon it negatively.

In the employee’s following claim for an unjustified summary dismissal, she requested to remain in her position during the court proceedings. This issue therefore had to be considered before deciding on the summary dismissal.

Lack of action was acceptance

The Norwegian Court of Appeal concluded that the employee could remain in her position during the court proceedings. This was because the court found it doubtful that the summary dismissal was justified, after an initial review of the case.

Although the right to sign was not part of the employee’s job description, she had committed the company to similar agreements on several previous occasions. As the company had neither questioned nor sanctioned the employee for this previously, the company had accepted that this was part of her job. It was also emphasized that the agreement had not committed or affected the company in any economic way.

Social considerations also played a part in this decision. The employee was the sole provider of two children, had a mortgage and would not receive social security payments before several months after the summary dismissal. A summary dismissal would therefore have a significant, negative affect on the employee.

IUNO’s opinion

Contrary to terminations, summarily dismissed employees will as a main rule not have the right to remain in their position during court proceedings. As a summary dismissal significantly affects the employee, as in this case, an exception applies when it is doubtful that the summary dismissal is justified. When deciding this, the court will consider social considerations.

When considering a summary dismissal, IUNO recommends that companies consider how an employee will be affected. For example, an employee’s old age, disease or handicap can affect the employee’s chances of gaining new employment. Whether a summary dismissal is justified must therefore be considered up against the interest of both parties.

[The Norwegian Court of Appeal’s judgement LB-2022-63021 of 12 May 2022]

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