Rights of employment after business transfer

Supreme Court judgment of 21 June 2012, HR-2012-1280-A (case no. 2011/2085), civil case, appeal against judgment

Songa Services AS (Counsel Arild Dommersnes), Stena Drilling AS (Counsel Sigurd Holter Torp), Norges Rederiforbund (intervener) (Counsel Are Gauslaa) v. Robert Sneddon, Kevin Smith, James Donald og Barry Denholm (Counsel Eyvind Mossige) The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (intervener) (Counsel Sigurd-Øyvind Kambestad)

Justices: Tønder, Indreberg, Kallerud, Matheson, Skoghøy

The case concerned a claim for employment based on the rules related to transfer of undertaking contained in the Working Environment Act. In the first place, the question was whether a transfer of undertaking comprised by chapter 16 of the Act had taken place. Secondly, the question was whether persons who were seconded to drilling rigs according to what is known as secondment agreements had such connections to the rig as a workplace that the rules related to transfer of undertaking  applied to them. The Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeal that the conditions for transfer of undertaking were satisfied. Even if the employees were formally employed somewhere else, they were entitled to invoke the rights provided by chapter 16 of the Working Environment Act since they had sufficient connection to the actual workplace. That the employees who were seconded were subject to a secondment duty was irrelevant. The employees were also entitled to compensation for financial loss suffered under the non-statutory rules related to liability in contractual relationships.

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