Littler Global Guide - Norway - Q1 2024

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New Clarification on Employers’ Right to Dismiss Requests on Exemptions from Night Shift

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Authors: Maria Skuggevik Slotnes, Associate, and Veslemøy Lode, Associate – Littler Norway

The Norwegian Working Environment Act, cf. Section 10-2, gives employees who regularly work at night the right to ask for an exemption if they need it for health, social, or other important welfare reasons. On February 28, 2024, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of an employer and clarified the standard to dismiss requests for exemptions from night shifts.

In this case, the employee worked offshore and had recently had a heart attack. The dispute was whether the exemption for this employee working offshore constituted a “significant disadvantage for the organization.” The Supreme Court clarified that the disadvantages to be considered should include the employer’s flexibility to take assignments for clients and the possibility that other workers would ask for a similar exemption. It was also of importance in the overall assessment that the employer had already offered the employee to work on land. The Supreme Court decided that an exemption from the night shift in this case would be a “significant disadvantage” for the employer.

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