Legislation

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Both the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act and the Working Environment Act prohibit harassment.

The overview on this page gives examples of legislation that addresses the working environment, bullying and various types of harassment, with a special focus on sexual harassment.

Reporting and dealing with sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is a difficult concept with regard to the law, ethics and as a research topic. In addition, there is good reason to assume that case law does not reflect the extent of the harassment that occurs.

The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombudsman (LDO) is a driving force for equality and against discrimination, and can give advice and guidance in cases of sexual harassment. In addition to this, LDO is responsible for follow-up on the activity and reporting duty.

LDO has together with, among others, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Committee for Gender Balance and Diversity in Research advertised for a low-threshold option for processing sexual harassment cases. Up until January 2020, only the court could process cases of sexual harassment, which might have made the threshold too high to report cases.

After a change in the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act, the Norwegian Equality and Anti-Discrimination Tribunal have the authority to process cases of sexual harassment. In 2019, the Norwegian Parliament decided to provide a low-threshold option for processing sexual harassment cases. Victims of sexual harassment can choose to report to the Norwegian Equality and Anti-Discrimination Tribunal instead of taking their case to the court. 

In the Working Environment Act, there are several aspects relating to sexual harassment and discrimination. The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority supervises compliance with the provisions of and pursuant to the Working Environment Act. 

Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act

Act relating to equality and a prohibition against discrimination (Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act)

The act was amended to include a prohibition against sexual harassment in 2002.

Section 13. Prohibition against harassment

Harassment and sexual harassment are prohibited.

“Harassment” means acts, omissions or statements that have the purpose or effect of being offensive, frightening, hostile, degrading or humiliating.

“Sexual harassment” means any form of unwanted sexual attention that has the purpose or effect of being offensive, frightening, hostile, degrading, humiliating or troublesome.

Employers and managers of organisations and educational institutions shall prevent and stop harassment and sexual harassment in their area of responsibility.

Read the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act.

The Working Environment Act

Act relating to working environment, working hours and employment protection, etc. (Working Environment Act)

Section 4-3. Requirements regarding the psychosocial working environment
(3) Employees shall not be subjected to harassment or other improper conduct.

Section 2-3. Employees’ duty to cooperate
(2) Employees shall:
d) ensure that the employer or the safety representative is notified as soon as employees become aware of harassment or discrimination at the workplace.

Section 13-1. Prohibition against discrimination
(1) Direct and indirect discrimination on the basis of political views, membership of a trade union, or age is prohibited.
(2) Harassment and instruction to discriminate persons for reasons referred to in the first paragraph are regarded as discrimination.

Read the Working Environment Act.

The University and University Colleges Act

Act relating to universities and university colleges (University and University Colleges Act)

Section 4-3. Learning environment
(1) The board has the overall responsibility for the students’ learning environment. In cooperation with student welfare organizations, the board must seek to provide suitable conditions for a good study environment and to enhance student welfare at the educational institution. The board must within its area of responsibility work to prevent and stop harassment and sexual harassment, cf. section 13 of the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act.

Read the University and University Colleges Act.