Gotten help: During the past year many Tekna members have gotten legal help. Photo: Unsplash

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Could risk 36 months of quarantine

Written by Sondre Tallaksrud - Tekna Magasinet Apr. 29 2021

It’s worth knowing about different laws and regulations so you don’t get ‘run over’ at work.

A person can feel tiny and insignificant working in a large company. What can ‘little you’ do if an unfair situation arises? If this happens, it’s great if someone else has your back so you won’t have to take on this battle alone.

Tekna’s legal department helps and guides over 87,000 members on a daily basis through e-mails and phone calls. Here are some members’ stories (kept anonymous due to privacy laws):

Was going to fire an employee unfairly

– This member had gotten a job which required him to have both professional expertise and experience in project management. After he’d been working for a few months, his employer claimed that they were dissatisfied with the employee’s work performance and so wanted to let him go even though this individual had a high level of expertise, says the Tekna attorney who worked on the case.

The member was having a hard time getting his team to pull in the same direction; consequently, their work wasn’t progressing as expected. Before putting their foot down, the employer hadn’t taken up their dissatisfaction with the member in a way that might’ve made it possible to change the situation.

The parties disagreed strongly about who was to blame for this. Had the employee «oversold» himself, or was it the employer who hadn’t taken responsibility and followed up a new employee well enough?

When new employees are fired during their trial period, many are given only a 14-day notice, so they’re suddenly left with no work at all. The employer in this case didn’t want to pay any more salary that they were contractually obligated to pay. The employee wanted to sue for wrongful termination.

– It came out in negotiations, which I took part in, that our member felt himself that his project management could’ve been better, and had been thinking about taking a course in it, and since they still didn’t want to pay any more salary, the agreement turned into the employer’s being willing to cover the costs of these expensive courses, which would give the ex-employee a better chance of getting the same type of job somewhere else, says the Tekna attorney.  

Students often get help

– We had a student member who was suspected of having cheated on an exam. We can initially offer advice and guidance about procedure and the individual’s right to respond to allegations, etc. Even though this case ended with the decision that cheating had taken place and this student had to accept the consequences, I think this student had a useful and positive experience of having been able to talk it over with an experienced, non-judgmental attorney during this process, says the Tekna attorney who handled the case.  

– Another type of case that can be used against students involves rental issues. For example, in a case where a student member contacts us to ask if he can get out of a non-negotiable rental contract for different reasons related to the rental agreement. We conclude at first that there aren’t any grounds to dissolve the contract, but then discover that it’s invalid because the landlord has illegally shortened it. So the student is allowed give a three-month notice in accordance with rental laws and can therefore cancel the contract, says the Tekna attorney.

A quarantine that’s far too long

This member had signed an employment contract and shareholder agreement in which he could in the worst case risk having to go through a 36-month quarantine if he started working for a competitor. According to the agreement, this would apply without pay given that the employer took advantage of a clause in the shareholder agreement.

– My opinion was divided – I thought that this member should be treated in accordance with the regulations in the Working Environment Act. I also thought the quarantine period was far too long, and that he was entitled to be paid his salary if he were put in quarantine, says the attorney who handled the case. 

During a dialogue with the employer, the parties agreed that the competitive restrictions would only apply during the three-month notice period. This member was of course very happy with this result.

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As a Tekna member, you receive many professional and financial benefits. We may help you with your salary, career and professional development and legal challenges. You get access to one of the country's best banking and insurance deals which can save you a lot of money. Becoming a Tekna member is a good idea!

Difficult situation due to illness

A member was in a difficult situation due to illness. She applied to NAV (The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration) for help, and NAV sent her its reply to her application.

– The member felt that the basis for NAV’s decision had been incorrectly interpreted. She couldn’t get the result NAV had arrived at to go along with her own understanding of its regulations. Since she can’t work fulltime, she’s in a difficult situation, and the National Insurance Act isn’t easy to navigate and understand, says the Tekna attorney.  

According to the Public Administration Act, NAV is obligated to advise people about their decisions in a way that they can understand. Having a dialogue with NAV often takes care of this situation. Ambiguities and disagreements about NAV’s decisions may often be cleared up through contacting your local NAV department and submitting an appeal to them.

– The member is appealing the decision and applying for guidance through NAV. The case will be processed by NAV’s appeals board, and she’ll have the chance to appeal her case to the Social Security Court. She needs to have an objective third party’s evaluation of the case in order to protect her rights.

She sends an inquiry to Tekna long before the appeal deadline and attaches the documents she feels are relevant for her case along with an appeal draft. After looking through the case documents and NAV’s evaluation of the case information, she receives a reply from Tekna.

She knows that there’s no guarantee that any appeal will produce a different result when NAV’s appeals board takes up her case again. Still, she now feels that she has better insight into and understanding of the regulations and the extent to which her rights have been protected.

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