7 June 2012

New authority to the Board of Equal Treatment

A recently adopted amendment of the Act on the Board of Equal Treatment means that the Board now has authority to hear complaints concerning harassment, including sexual harassment.

The Board hears complaints concerning discrimination within/outside the labour market and is regulated by the Act on the Board of Equal Treatment. On 24 May 2012, the Danish Parliament adopted an amendment to the Act resulting, inter alia, in a number of changes as regards the Board's authority and presidency.

Authority to hear complaints concerning harassment due to gender

Under the present Act on the Board of Equal Treatment, the Board is authorised to hear complaints about labour market matters concerning discrimination due to gender, race, colour, religion or faith, political opinion, sexual orientation, age, handicap or national, social or ethnic origin. As regards non-labour market matters, the Board is authorised to hear complaints about discrimination due to ethnic origin, race and gender.

According to the Board's present case law, the Board does not consider itself authorised to hear complaints concerning harassment under the Act on Equal Rights. However, the authority within this area has not been clear as the Act on Equal Rights stipulates that harassment is part of the concept discrimination due to gender, and that the Board is therefore authorised to hear such complaints.

The recent amendment settles this uncertainty, and a direct reference has been added to section 2a of the Act on Equal Rights according to which harassment and sexual harassment are considered discrimination due to gender. With this reference to section 2a, the Board will be authorised to hear complaints about harassment and sexual harassment in the future.

Amendment to the provision concerning presidency

The recently adopted Bill also contains an amendment as to who may be appointed president of the Board. In the future, the president must be a High Court judge or the president or vice-president of the Maritime and Commercial Court. The reason for this amendment is that the decisions of the Board may involve leading cases, and often the Board must assess legislation based on EU law or international conventions.

The possibility of dismissing complaints

Finally, there has also been a need for specifying the Board's possibility of dismissing complaints. The previous provisions concerning dismissal have now been united stating that the Board may dismiss a complaint if it is not deemed qualified for hearing by the Board, or if it is evident that the Board will not find in favour of the claimant.


The amendments and the specification of the Board's authority in relation to harassment, including sexual harassment, under the Act on Equal Rights, may be of importance to employers.

In a number of complaints, where the defendant has claimed dismissal of the complaint stating that actual evidence was to be produced before the compliant could be decided upon - evidence which cannot be produced to the Board as all complaints are conducted in writing - the Board has still decided on the complaints in terms of substance.

If this practice is transferred to future complaints concerning harassment, including sexual harassment, it should be expected that the Board will become the court of first instance in such cases, notwithstanding that such cases are often characterised by significant differences as to the understanding of the actual circumstances. There is a risk that the Board will, to a greater extent, take the claimant's written description into consideration than in case of an oral presentation before the courts.

The content of this Newsletter is not, and should not replace, legal advice.

New rankings from Chambers

13 March 2018

Chambers, the leading international guide to the best law firms, ranks Horten as one of the best in the country yet again.

On-call duty at home may be working time

26 February 2018

New ECJ verdict: Time where the employee must be available to the employer without being physically present at the work place can be considered working time.

The mandatory nature of the salaried employees act did not preclude an agreement concerning immediate resignation

6 February 2018

The Western High Court has ruled that it was not contrary to the mandatory nature of the Salaried Employees Act or section 36 of the Contracts Act that an employee had concluded a severance agreement concerning resignation without notice.

Unique cooperation between Horten and Symbion

5 February 2018

Horten has entered into unique cooperation with Symbion and Accelerace where we will make a team of lawyers available for start-up businesses at the shared office facilities Horten CoLab.

Ten things to remember when drafting contracts

29 January 2018

A contract is typically concluded for a specific purpose, and thus the parties often forget to regulate other central issues which can subsequently turn out problematic. We take you throigh ten steps that you should always consider when drafting contracts.

Incentive payments for employees

29 January 2018

When you are about to start your own business, it can be difficult to offer a salary that attracts the most skilled employees. Another way to attract employees can be through incentive payment. We have listed the different types of incentive payments.

Nine things to be aware of when employing staff

29 January 2018

We go through a number of focus areas which are useful to know when you are starting up a new business and are considering employing staff.

New Holiday Act adopted

26 January 2018

On 25 January 2018, the parliament unanimously adopted the new Holiday Act. At the same time, the parliament adopted the Act on administration of outstanding holiday pay.

How to prevent and handle sexual harassment at work

5 January 2018

As an employer, you have to be proactive to ensure a harassment-free workplace. We will zoom in on the legal definition of sexual harassment and give you an overview of the employer’s obligations and responsibilities.

New Managing Partner at Horten

2 January 2018

Finn Schwarz, Attorney and Partner, has been appointed Managing Partner of Horten Law Firm as of 1 January 2018.

Clear ruling from the Supreme Court: Compensation for violation of the 48-hour rule

14 November 2017

Recently, the Supreme Court delivered its first judgment in a case concerning the level of compensation for violation of the so-called 40-hour rules of the Working Time Act.

New judgment: Operation manager's sexual harassment did not result in compensation

26 October 2017

Recently, the Eastern High Court ruled that a company was not obliged to pay compensation to an employee even though she had been sexually harassed by the department’s operations manager.

The European Court of Justice: Redundancies - when?

9 October 2017

In two recent cases, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that an employer should have consulted the employees’ organisations before giving notice of changes that resulted in collective redundancies.

The European Court of Justice: Public servant was entitled to be reinstated in trial position

9 October 2017

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has assessed that a public servant employed in a trial position as head of department should have been offered the same or a similar position when returning from parental leave, even though the probationary period had expired.

New judgment from the European Court of Human Rights concerning companies’ monitoring of private communication

19 September 2017

The European Court of Human Rights recently ruled that employers must inform employees of the possibility of monitoring and to which extent.

Horten advances in new Chambers and Legal 500 rankings

19 April 2017

In 2017, the leading international ranking agencies, Legal 500 and Chambers, are once again ranking Horten among the best law firms in Denmark.

Conviction in bribery actions against Atea

24 March 2017

The Eastern High Court has delivered convictions in two bribery actions where Atea gave away iPhones, iPads and other IT equipment to two senior employees at the City of Copenhagen and DSB.

Horten advises Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor A/S on its acquisition of Burmeister & Wain Energy A/S in bankruptcy

8 February 2017

With effect from 6 January 2017, Burmeister & Wain Energy A/S (BWE) was acquired by Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor A/S (BWSC), which, despite the common name, has had different owners since the 90'ies.

Are you allowed as a governm¬ent official to say that the municipal chief executive's "core competence may not be the truth"?

30 January 2017

According to the Ombudsman, it was in accordance with the rules of government employees' freedom of speech when a municipal employee was given a warning for writing on his Facebook profile that the municipal chief executive was "a person whose core competence may not be the truth".

The Danish state is liable in damages for lack of replacement holiday

23 January 2017

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Danish state is liable in damages for not having made the Holiday Act consistent with the Working Time Directive fast enough in relation to sickness during holiday. However, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Danish state as the Supreme Court found that the state was not liable in damages at the time of the employee's sickness during the summer holiday 2010.

Global Leaders in Law appoints Horten as exclusive partner for Denmark

10 January 2017

Global Leaders in Law, the leading global general counsel forum based in London, and Horten has announced partnership. Appointed as a global bronze partner, Horten will sponsor the activities of Global Leaders in Law in 2017.

Trainee could be dismissed before training period started

8 September 2016

In a leading Supreme Court case, the court found that a company could terminate a training agreement before it had begun.

The ombudsman: Dismissal of upper secondary school teacher was contrary to government employees' freedom of speech

5 September 2016

The ombudsman found that it was "strongly criticisable" that Campus Bornholm had dismissed a teacher for having criticised the employer.

Compensation for violation of the principle of equal treatment of the Temp Act

5 September 2016

For the first time, the Supreme Court has ruled on a violation of the principle of equality of the Temp Act.

Compensation for wrongful publication of conviction

5 July 2016

Recently, the Eastern High Court ruled in a case where the housing association AAB had published information on a former voluntary cashier's criminal offenceson the Internet contrary to the Personal Data Act.

New act on e-cigarettes: Obligation to prepare a written policy concerning smoking at the work place

14 June 2016

A new act on e-cigarettes has come into force. The act implies that employers must prepare a written policy stipulating whether and, if so, where e-cigarettes are allowed.

Work permit in Denmark - many schemes will change

9 June 2016

From 10 June 2016, it is no longer possible to apply for a residence permit in Denmark through the Green Card scheme, and the minimum yearly salary required to obtain residence and work permit under the Pay Limit Scheme is abolished.

Legal to prohibit headscarves at the work place? A clarification is on its way from the European Court of Justice

8 June 2016

Recently, the Advocate-General proposed a decision in a case concerning a prohibition against religious symbols at the work place. The proposal may influence ECJ case law in a new direction.

New ratings from the international reference book Legal 500

4 May 2016

There are several good news for Horten in the new rankings, among these to new Tier 1-ratings in Media & entertainment and Telecoms.

Gift policy

3 May 2016

With a conviction of bribery, your company risks having to wave goodbye to public orders due to the rules of the Procurement Act.

The prohibition against discrimination overtrumps due process of law

3 May 2016

In a recent preliminary ruling, the European Court of Justice established that private persons and companies are subject to a prohibition against discrimination due to age based on both a principle of EU law as well as an obligation under a directive

The supreme court: Uncertain whether prohibition against indirect discrimination covers parents with disabled children

29 April 2016

The dismissal of a child-minder on leave to take care of her son suffering from Asperger syndrome was not contrary to the Anti-Discrimination Act. It is still uncertain whether a person covered by the protection criteria is protected against indirect discrimination.

The Western High Court ruled in favour of a former executive officer in text message case

27 April 2016

The Western High Court ruled in favour of a former executive officer, who had violated the provisions on mail secrecy by having read a crane driver's text messages on his work cell phone.

Time barring of industrial injury claims

26 April 2016

The Supreme Court has ruled that claims for compensation for permanent injury under the Act on Industrial Injuries are subject to the general 5-year limitation period - even if the industrial injury did not happen after 1 January 2004.

Dismissal of disabled employee was not contrary to the anti-dicrimination act

14 April 2016

The Supreme Court has ruled in a case as to whether an employee's sympathetic reflex dystrophy was long-term and therefore constituted a disablement within the meaning of the Anti-Discrimination Act.

Renunciation of collective agreement was lawful

11 April 2016

Recently, the Industrial Court accepted that Cimber renounced SAS' collective agreement for cabin crew in connection with transfer of aircraft and staff from SAS.

International women lawyers discuss the future of the legal profession

6 April 2016

Horten participates when 150 lawyers from all over the world meet in Berlin on 7-8 April under the headline "Law in a changing world – how women can contribute to innovation of the legal profession".

Ruling in the Kaltoft case: Employee's obesity was not considered a disablement

31 March 2016

Recently, the Court of Kolding ruled in a case whether an employee's severe obesity was a disablement. The court found that the employee's problems did not constitute a disablement within the meaning of the Anti-Discrimination Act.

Summary dismissal for purchase of mobile tickets for the employer's account

17 March 2016

The Supreme Court has ruled in a case where an employee purchased train tickets for private purposes from his work phone. According to the Supreme Court, the summary dismissal was justified.

Compensation for loss of capacity for work to person close to retirement age

15 March 2016

The Supreme Court has ruled that it is without any importance to the awarding of compensation for loss of capacity for work that the person is may receive state pension within a very short time.

Attorney was not covered by the salaried employess act

5 February 2016

The Eastern High Court surprisingly concluded that an attorney and partner at a law firm did not enjoy employee status and was therefore not covered by the Salaried Employees Act, the Holiday Act or the Contract of Employment Act.

Smoking police/policy - what is the employer allowed to do?

3 February 2016

Two new rulings clarify the scope of the employer's right to lay down smoking policies and impose sanctions in connection with violation of these policies.

Update Employment Law

3 September 2014

No age discrimination

19 December 2011