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Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases x Jaar 2016 x
Case Reports

2016/55 New Supreme Court decision on the distinction between independent contractors and employees (NO)

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 4 2016
Trefwoorden Independent contractors, Employees
Auteurs Marianne Jenum Hotvedt en Anne-Beth Engan
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    EU employment protection is usually limited to “employees”, meaning that independent contractors are not covered. However, EU law often leaves it to Member States to determine the meaning of employee. The directives regulating transfers of undertakings, collective redundancies, written working conditions, information and consultation, part-time work, temporary agency workers etc. are all examples of protection covering only ‘employees’ as defined by each Member State.
    Consequently, the interpretation of ‘employee’ at the national level determines whether protection in EU law applies. This case report concerns the distinction between an independent contractor and employee. The question was whether a support worker for a child needing extra care and support should be considered as employed by Ålesund municipality. The majority (4-1) found that the support worker was an employee. The case illustrates how the notion of employee in Norwegian law adapts to new ways of organising work and may be of interest in other jurisdictions.


Marianne Jenum Hotvedt
Marianne Jenum Hotvedt is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Private law, University in Oslo. In 2015, she got her Ph.D. on the thesis ‘The Employer Concept’.

Anne-Beth Engan
Anne-Beth Engan is an associate with Advokatfirmaet Selmer DA in Oslo.

James Davies
James Davies is Joint Head of Employment team at Lewis Silkin LLP in London, www.lewissilkin.com.

    The Supreme Court of Lithuania recently affirmed that the courts have no competence to assess the merits of an employer’s decision to restructure and make staff redundant, as the decision was at the employer’s discretion to make.


Inga Klimašauskienė
Inga Klimašauskienė is an Associate Partner at GLIMSTEDT Law Firm in Vilnius, www.glimstedt.lt.

    Under Irish law, an employee claiming compensation for constructive dismissal bears a high burden of proof. Failure to exhaust the employer’s grievance procedure before bringing such a claim to court is generally a recipe for failure. However, a CEO who brought such a claim without first going through the grievance procedure was recently awarded record compensation of € 1.25 million.


Orla O’Leary
Orla O’Leary is a solicitor with Mason Hayes & Curran in Dublin, www.mhc.ie.
ECtHR Court Watch

ECtHR 12 January 2016, application 61496/08. (Bărbulescu), Fundamental Rights

Bărbulescu –v– Romania, Romanian case

Tijdschrift European Employment Law Cases, Aflevering 1 2016
Trefwoorden Fundamental Rights

    Austrian law permits the dismissal of an employee during parental leave only in cases where the employer cannot reasonably be expected to continue the contractual relationship. The colour of a hair ribbon does not justify the termination of a young father’s employment as a bus driver.


Christina Hießl
Christina Hießl is invited professor at Yonsei University, Graduate School of Social Welfare, Seoul http://yonsei.ac.kr.
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