Norway has a progressive statutory framework that seeks to prevent differential treatment and promote gender equality. Extracts from relevant legislation are compiled below.
The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act entered into force on 1 January 2018, replacing four previous acts.
Act relating to equality and a prohibition against discrimination (Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act)
Section 1. Purpose
The purpose of this Act is to promote equality and prevent discrimination on the basis of gender, pregnancy, leave in connection with childbirth or adoption, care responsibilities, ethnicity, religion, belief, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age or other significant characteristics of a person.
“Equality” means equal status, equal opportunities and equal rights.
This Act has the particular objective of improving the position of women and minorities.
Section 6. Prohibition against discrimination
Discrimination on the basis of gender, pregnancy, leave in connection with childbirth or adoption, care responsibilities, ethnicity, religion, belief, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age or combinations of these factors is prohibited. “Ethnicity” includes national origin, descent, skin colour and language.
“Discrimination” means direct or indirect differential treatment.
Section 11. Permitted positive differential treatment
Positive differential treatment on the basis of factors specified in section 6, first paragraph, is permitted if:
a) the differential treatment is suited to promote the purpose of this Act,
b) the negative impact of the differential treatment on the person or persons whose position will worsen is reasonably proportionate in the view of the intended purpose, and
c) the differential treatment will cease when its purpose has been achieved.
Section 13. Prohibition against harassment
Harassment on the basis of factors specified in section 6, first paragraph, and sexual harassment, are prohibited.
“Harassment” means acts, omissions or statements that have the purpose or effect of being offensive, frightening, hostile, degrading, humiliating or troublesome.
“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 preclude and seek to prevent harassment and sexual harassment in their area of responsibility.
Section 26. Activity duty of employers
All employers shall, in their operations, make active, targeted and systematic efforts to promote equality, prevent discrimination on the basis of gender, pregnancy, leave in connection with childbirth or adoption, care responsibilities, ethnicity, religion, belief, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or combinations of these grounds, and shall seek to prevent harassment, sexual harassment and gender-based violence. Such efforts shall encompass the areas of recruitment, pay and working conditions, promotion, development opportunities, accommodation and the opportunity to combine work with family life.
All public undertakings, regardless of size, and private undertakings that ordinarily employ more than 50 persons shall, in the context of their operations:
a) investigate whether there is a risk of discrimination or other barriers to equality, including by reviewing pay conditions by reference to gender and the use of involuntary part-time work every two years,
b) analyse the causes of identified risks,
c) implement measures suited to counteract discrimination and promote greater equality and diversity in the undertaking, and
d) evaluate the results of efforts made pursuant to a) and c).
The same shall apply to private undertakings that ordinarily employ between 20 and 50 persons if requested by the employees or employee representatives.
Section 26a. Duty of employers to issue a statement
Employers with obligations pursuant to section 26, second paragraph, shall issue a statement on the actual status of gender equality in the undertaking and what the undertaking is doing to comply with the activity duty pursuant to section 26.
The statement pursuant to the first paragraph shall be issued in the annual report or another document available to the general public. If the statement is issued in another document available to the general public and the undertaking has a duty to issue an annual report, the annual report shall specify where the document can be found in a form available to the general public. Public undertakings which are not subject to a duty to prepare an annual report shall include the statement pursuant to the first paragraph in another report issued annually or another document available to the general public.
Section 34. Equal pay for work of equal value
Women and men in the same undertaking shall receive equal pay for the same work or work of equal value. Pay shall be set in the same way, without regard to gender.
Read more: Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act
Act relating to working environment, working hours and employment protection, etc. (Working Environment Act)
Section 13-1. Prohibition against discrimination
(1) Direct and indirect discrimination based on political views, membership of a trade union, or age is prohibited.
(2) Harassment and instruction to discriminate against persons for reasons referred to in the first paragraph are regarded as discrimination.
(3) The provisions of this chapter shall apply correspondingly in the case of discrimination of an employee who works part-time or on a temporary basis.
(4) In the case of discrimination based on gender, pregnancy, leave of absence in connection with childbirth or adoption, care responsibilities, ethnicity, religion, belief, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act shall apply.
Read more: Working Environment Act
Act relating to universities and university colleges (University and University College 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.
Section 6-2. Gender equality
Universities and university colleges must make active, targeted and systematic efforts to ensure gender equality in all categories of employment at the institution.
Section 6-3. Advertisement of and appointment to academic positions
(2) The appointing body must itself advertise academic positions. If one sex is clearly underrepresented in the position category in the subject area in question, applications from members of that sex must be specifically invited.
(3) Appointments to academic positions are made on the basis of a recommendation. A recommendation is made based on expert assessments in relation to the description of the position given in the advertisement and the position specification. The appointing body may decide that an interview, a trial lecture or other tests will also be conducted. The appointing body may in special cases decide that the requirement regarding expert assessment may be departed from for academic positions that are not associate professorial or professorial positions. When an expert assessment is conducted, both sexes must be represented among the experts. When the appointment is made, importance must be attached to gender equality considerations. For positions where teaching qualifications are required, a special assessment must be made of whether the applicants are so qualified. The board issues specific rules concerning the assessment, cf. however, the sixth subsection.
Read more: University and University College Act
Basic Agreement for the Civil Service
Chapter 8.31, Section 31. Gender equality
The following of some of the main provisions in the Basic Agreement for the Civil Service regarding gender equality in working life:
The employer is responsible for initiating, implementing and reporting on gender equality measures in the agency. The adjustment agreement shall contain provisions concerning gender equality:
- competence-building measures, such as measures to ensure that women are assigned tasks of a competence-building character on an equal footing with men, particularly with a view to managerial responsibilities,
- measures to ensure gender-neutral criteria for fixing of salaries and such practice of these criteria as promotes gender equality,
- provisions concerning positive differential treatment.
Advertising of posts:
The advertisement text for posts shall be drafted with a view to recruiting applicants of both genders. In categories of post where one of the genders is underrepresented, the advertisement text should include an invitation to members of the underrepresented gender to apply for the post.
In managerial posts where women are underrepresented, the advertisement text shall include an invitation to women to apply for the post. The elected union representatives shall be given the opportunity to comment on the advertisement text before the vacancy is announced.
If two or more applicants to a vacant post have approximately equivalent qualifications for the post, applicants from the gender that is underrepresented in the category of post concerned shall be given preference. The gender that comprises less than 40 percent of the employees in the category of post concerned is regarded as underrepresented.
Read more: Basic Agreement for the Civil Service (in Norwegian)
There are also a multitude of local decisions, regulations and documents that regulate gender equality work. This includes strategic plans at institutional level, personnel policies and regulations, local amendments to the collective agreements, adjustment plans, employee and organisational policies and local wage politics.
The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud represents the interests of those who are discriminated against. The Ombud works to prevent discrimination and promote equality.
The main task is to promote equality and fight against discrimination on the basis of gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and age.