Confidentiality and sanctions
An employee, who is a member of the employees' negotiating body, and the employees’ representative participating in the co-operation procedure, as well as any expert who assists the employees’ representatives, must keep confidential any information obtained in connection with the co-operation procedure:
- relating to business and trade secrets of the group of undertakings or the undertaking;
- relating to the financial position of the group of undertakings or the undertaking, where the said information is not deemed public information according to other legislation and the dissemination of such information would probably be prejudicial to the group of undertakings or the undertaking or any of its business or contracting partners; and
- relating to the security of the group of undertakings or the undertaking and the corresponding security system, where the dissemination of such information would probably be prejudicial to the group of undertakings or the undertaking or any of its business or contracting partners.
A precondition for confidentiality is that:
- the management of the group of undertakings or the undertaking has indicated to the persons bound by the confidentiality obligation what information is considered business and trade secrets, or must otherwise be kept confidential, and has also informed the parties of the confidentiality obligation.
After they have been informed of the confidential nature of the information, the confidentiality obligation does not prevent the persons bound by the obligation from disclosing the information to other aforementioned employees or their representatives or experts assisting them, if necessary in order to perform their co-operation duties.
The confidentiality obligation continues during the entire duration of the contract of employment of the employee and his representative, and the expert’s confidentiality obligation continues after the termination of the task undertaken by the expert.
Supervision and sanctions
The fulfillment of Act on Co-operation within Undertakings is monitored by the co-operation ombudsman and the labour market organisations that have prepared the collective agreement that the undertaking must adhere to.
An employer that fails to adhere to the provisions on:
- use of external labour,
- considering alternative plans,
- the information provided to personnel representatives,
- following the co-operation negotiation procedures,
- items within the decision-making authority of personnel,
- notifying personnel representatives,
- the right to use experts,
- release from work and compensation or
- displaying the Act
- can be subject to sanctions for violating the co-operation obligation.
Violations of the confidentiality provisions of the Act on Co-operation within Undertakings are subject to sanctions. The co-operation ombudsman may also forward violations of the aforementioned Act to the police for investigation.
Compensation to the employee
Compensation to the employee may be ordered for neglecting the co-operation obligation if:
- the employer has terminated, laid off or changed the employee status to part-time and
- failed to adhere to the co-operation procedure provisions on reducing the use of personnel
- the failure is intentional or is a result of negligence.
All three requirements are to be met for the compensation to be ordered.
The maximum compensation is EUR 34,140 and it is deemed tax-free.
During employment, an action for compensation has to be brought within two years of the end of the calendar year during which the events occurred resulting in the right for compensation. Following employment, an action for compensation has to be brought within two years of termination of employment.
The court can require the undertaking to provide personnel with the information laid down in Chapter 3 of the Act on Co-operation Within Undertakings and to prepare the plans in accordance with Chapter 4 of the aforementioned Act. Failure to comply with the court order may result in sanctions. The co-operation ombudsman may demand a sanction be imposed.
Further information: cooperation ombudsman