Our practice areas
Business transfers, whether full or partial, require extensive planning in relation to company, tax and employment matters. Employment law issues arise as a result of EU rules that aim to protect workers' employment rights when a business or part of a business is transferred to a new employer.
Our lawyers regularly advise on business transfer processes, and provide legal assistance in connection with the planning and implementation of business transfers, including communication and negotiations with trade unions and employees.
In working life, competition clauses are contractual provisions that aim to limit the ability of an employee, for the duration of the employment relationship and for a certain period following its termination, to start or run certain types of business, to accept a position with a different employer engaged in certain types of business and/or to contact former customers or colleagues.
Our lawyers have wide-ranging expertise and experience in drafting this type of contract clause and handling related disputes. In 2008, Hjort was engaged by the Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion to prepare a report on “competition clauses, customer clauses and non-recruitment clauses”. The report has formed the basis for the Ministry’s further legislative work in this area and in 2015, the government proposed new rules regarding non-compete agreements in employment relationships.
Data Protection and Inquiries
Hjort regularly assists enterprises and employees in connection with internal inquiries.
Internal inquiries raise various data protection issues, including under the Working Environment Act, the Personal Data Act and criminal law. Examples include the choice of procedure for gaining access to business-related electronically stored materials, the disclosure duty owed to employees and notification to the Norwegian Data Protection Authority. The correct handling of the data protection and employment law issues that arise in connection with an inquiry, along with the dialogue conducted with the employees and any employee representatives, is often crucial for achieving a successful result.
The Working Environment Act contains provisions intended to prevent direct and indirect discrimination at every stage of an employment relationship.
Our lawyers advise businesses and employees on questions and processes relating to the prevention of discrimination at the workplace, and on disputes in which it is claimed that an act of discrimination or prejudice has occurred.
Dismissal with notice and summary dismissal
The Working Environment Act grants employees strong protection against dismissal with notice and summary dismissal, and contains special rules on the conditions for dismissal with notice and summary dismissal, including the procedure to be followed during such processes.
Our lawyers handle cases for both employers and employees. We conduct assessments of impending or completed dismissals with notice, suspensions, temporary lay-offs, dismissals without notice and other disciplinary measures, and assist with the implementation of such processes. Hjort also assists with negotiations and disputes, including before court involvement.
Employment matters and working hours
Our employment lawyers deal with all types of employment matters and matter related to working hours including; part-time work, full-time work, holiday pay and parental leave.
Employment relationships involving several countries
Increased internationalization and intensified migration of labour across national borders are resulting in an increasing need for advice on cross-border employment relationships.
Hjort is a member of the international employment network Ius Laboris (http://www.iuslaboris.com/).
Through the network, we ensure that our clients receive rapid, integrated advice on legal questions concerning foreign law. This international connection strengthens our expertise in the area of employment law, and makes it easier for us to provide effective assistance to clients requiring cross-border legal advice.
Individual employment contracts
Employers have a duty to draft a written employment contract for each of their employees, and there are minimum requirements regarding the content of such contracts.
A good, comprehensive employment contract will help to protect the parties’ interests and reduce the chances of future conflicts. We have advised on senior executive contracts for many years, and have developed specialist expertise in this area.
Our lawyers have broad experience of this type of contract. We regularly advise employers and employees in connection with the drafting of new employment contracts and reviews of existing contracts.
Litigation employment law
Hjort has a long tradition of conducting litigation for clients. Our employment lawyers have broad experience of legal proceedings before the district court, court of appeal and Supreme Court, including mediation and arbitration. Our litigation experience is also helpful in performing general assignments for clients.
Norway's pension reform entered into force on 1 January 2011. In 2006, all Norwegian enterprises were effectively ordered to introduce a collective occupational pension scheme. Partly as a result of these legislative amendments, increased attention has been focused on pension rights and obligations.
Our lawyers regularly advise both employers and employees on individual and collective pension questions, including transitions from defined benefit schemes to defined contribution schemes, the drafting of and dispute resolution related to individual and collective pension agreements, pension schemes funded through operations, etc. Often, collaboration with actuaries is required.
Reorganisation and workforce reductions
Employers may for various reasons need to make organisational changes, for example through effectivisation measures, cost-cutting, market adaptation, relocation, etc.
Our lawyers regularly advise businesses on reorganisations and workforce reductions, and have in recent years assisted clients in connection with a number of major reorganisations inNorway. We advise on both the planning and implementation phases, and are often involved in negotiations with employee representatives and trade unions. Our clients include multinational companies, which may require coordination with parallel international processes, and small and medium-sized Norwegian enterprises. We also advise employees on workforce reduction processes, either individually or as a group.
When an employment relationship is terminated, the parties may for various reasons wish to enter into a resignation agreement.
Various issues must be resolved when a resignation agreement is concluded, relating to both employment law and tax law.
Our lawyers advise clients regularly on the conclusion of resignation agreements and the resolution of disputes relating to such agreements.
Enterprises have a duty to establish procedures for internal whistleblowing, or to implement other measures that facilitate internal whistleblowing regarding unacceptable circumstances.
Our employment lawyers provide legal assistance in the drafting of procedures for internal whistleblowing. We also have extensive experience in advising on whistleblowing processes, including related disputes. Hjort has performed and advised on a number of investigations resulting from whistleblowing in businesses.