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The naughty kindergarten teacher

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Legal news
calendar 28 June 2024
globus Norway

A company wanted an employee to repay his salary, as he had not been qualified for his position. The Court of Appeal concluded that the company was not entitled to a repayment, as a binding severance agreement cut the parties off from new claims.

A kindergarten teacher had not completed the mandatory education for the position. The company discovered this two and a half years after he was employed. The company offered the employee the opportunity to work in a junior position while he completed his education, but he declined.

Shortly afterwards, the employee was informed that he would be terminated without notice unless he agreed to resign the next day, so that he would be paid for the duration of his notice period. The employee accepted this. The parties had some contact with each other in the following days, before the company sent an email stating that the employee should consider himself terminated without notice.

After this, the company took legal action against the employee for repayment of salary, holiday pay, pension, and social security contributions.

What’s done is done

The court concluded that the company was not entitled to a repayment, primarily because the parties had entered into a binding agreement.

Because the parties agreed that the employee would resign from his position, a severance agreement had been entered into. As the company had no valid reason to withdraw from the agreement, the parties were barred from further claims against each other.

The court also emphasised that the company would have no claim for repayment in any case, as the company had not suffered any financial loss.

IUNO’s opinion

The case illustrates the clear principle that agreements are binding for the parties. Many companies use conditions, such as employment subject to background checks, work permits or other preconditions.

IUNO recommends that companies identify any hiring conditions before sending any offer letters or entering into any employment agreement. There is no guarantee that the courts will find such pre-hiring conditions valid. To avoid such risks, companies should therefore clarify any such conditions proactively before hiring.

 

[Borgarting Court of Appeal’s judgement of 27 May 2024 in case LB-2023-93699]

A kindergarten teacher had not completed the mandatory education for the position. The company discovered this two and a half years after he was employed. The company offered the employee the opportunity to work in a junior position while he completed his education, but he declined.

Shortly afterwards, the employee was informed that he would be terminated without notice unless he agreed to resign the next day, so that he would be paid for the duration of his notice period. The employee accepted this. The parties had some contact with each other in the following days, before the company sent an email stating that the employee should consider himself terminated without notice.

After this, the company took legal action against the employee for repayment of salary, holiday pay, pension, and social security contributions.

What’s done is done

The court concluded that the company was not entitled to a repayment, primarily because the parties had entered into a binding agreement.

Because the parties agreed that the employee would resign from his position, a severance agreement had been entered into. As the company had no valid reason to withdraw from the agreement, the parties were barred from further claims against each other.

The court also emphasised that the company would have no claim for repayment in any case, as the company had not suffered any financial loss.

IUNO’s opinion

The case illustrates the clear principle that agreements are binding for the parties. Many companies use conditions, such as employment subject to background checks, work permits or other preconditions.

IUNO recommends that companies identify any hiring conditions before sending any offer letters or entering into any employment agreement. There is no guarantee that the courts will find such pre-hiring conditions valid. To avoid such risks, companies should therefore clarify any such conditions proactively before hiring.

 

[Borgarting Court of Appeal’s judgement of 27 May 2024 in case LB-2023-93699]

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Anders

Etgen Reitz

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Sofie

Aurora Braut Bache

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