Parliament is processing a proposal for amendments to employment legislation concerning whistleblowers to further strengthen their position. The amendments are expected to be effective from 1 July 2019 or 1 January 2020.

Current legislation

Today, employees and agency workers are entitled to notify censurable conditions at the employer's undertaking. The notification must be done responsibly, and the employer has the burden of proof if they claim that it is not done responsibly. Notification to a public authority or a supervisory authority will always be considered responsible. The provisions also specify the duty of confidentiality that anyone working at a public authority or a supervisory authority has in connection with receiving a notification of censurable conditions.

Retaliation against an employee who has notified responsibly about censurable conditions at the employer is prohibited. A breach in this regard will entitle the employee to compensation for non-economic loss regardless of the fault of the employer or the staffing agency. Economic loss presupposes negligence from the employer or staffing agency. If the information provided by the employee gives grounds to believe that retaliation has taken place, the employer has the burden of proof that this is not the case.

Employers with five or more employees (or if the employer otherwise requires it) are obligated to have procedures for internal notification of censurable conditions as part of their health, safety and environment work.

Proposed amendments

The main proposed amendments include the:

  • extension of the scope of persons subject to the whistleblowing provisions;
  • clarification of the term 'censurable conditions', including examples, and that statements concerning the employee's employment only are not considered as censurable conditions;
  • clarification of what is considered as a responsible notification;
  • clarification of the term 'retaliation';
  • introduction of a duty for the employer to act within reasonable time when receiving a notification of censurable conditions and to ensure that the whistleblower has a fully secure working environment;
  • liability for economic loss regardless of the fault of the employer and guidance for the determination of non-economic loss; and
  • additional and clarified requirements for the procedures for internal notification of censurable conditions.

For further information on this topic please contact Ole Kristian Olsby or Lise Gran at Homble Olsby Advokatfirma AS by telephone (+47 23 89 75 70) or email (gran@homble-olsby.no or olsby@homble-olsby.no). The Homble Olsby Advokatfirma website can be accessed at www.homble-olsby.no.