Selection pool in connection with restructuring and downsizing

Supreme Court judgment 29 October 2019, HR-2019-1986-A (case no. 19-026350SIV-HRET), civil case, appeal against judgment. 

Telenor Norge AS (Counsel Sten Foyn), Abelia (third-party intervener) (Counsel Margrethe Meder) v. A (Counsel Karl Inge Rotmo), EL og IT Forbundet (third-party intervener) (Counsel Rune Lium)

Justices: Indreberg, Normann, Bergsjø, Ringnes, Høgetveit Berg

A sales consultant in Telenor Norge AS with 32 years' seniority was dismissed due to downsizing. The selection pool was limited to the business division in Trondheim, consisting of 11 employees.

The Supreme Court found like the Court of Appeal that the limitation of the selection pool did not meet the requirement of due reason for departing from the seniority principle, see section 8-2 of the Basic Agreement between LO and NHO, by which Telenor Norge AS is bound. It was accepted that Telenor Norge AS had due reason for departing from the principle that the entire company is a selection pool. The number and composition of employees included in the selection pool in Trondheim, however, implied that the principle of seniority was substantially weakened. In the assessment of due reason, it should therefore have been considered which or how many employees were included in the selection group. The failure to assess this circumstance was sufficient for considering the dismissal invalid. Telenor Norge AS's appeal against the Court of Appeal's judgment was dismissed.

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