NORWAY: Elisabeth Bull Daae, head of trading analytics at Norges Bank Investment Management, is suing Norway’s $1.4 trillion sovereign wealth fund for gender discrimination, seeking damages and compensation of 16 million crowns ($1.54 million). She claims she was paid less than her male coworkers for ten years.
The central bank, which encourages businesses to increase the number of women on their boards, rejects the accusations and will be called as a witness in a lawsuit against the fund. Bull Daae is still employed by the fund, one of the biggest investors in the world.
Bull Daae reported that her male coworkers had requested that she check for fresh milk in the refrigerator and change the soap in the lavatory. This raises the question of whether gender-based pay discrimination is justified.
The fund’s attorney argued that, despite the employer’s best efforts, the relationship between the employee and the bank had deteriorated. Jan Fougner testified that the bank had respected the employee, valued her, liked her, given her opportunities, and tried to help her, but they were unable to do so. This was a tragic case.
Bull Daae’s lawyer, Sigurd Knudtzon, informed the court that the case concerns a romance with a coworker that led to a job switch for Bull Daae for 18 months. This led to a breakdown in their working relationship as Bull Daae began to feel increasingly mistreated.
The working climate at NBIM is not always favourable, as this case will demonstrate. Bull Daae has worked for the fund for almost 19 years and has worked with three different chief executive officers, including the current one, Nicolai Tangen.
Norway’s sovereign wealth fund is attempting to use its power as the largest single shareholder in the world to take a firmer stand against businesses that fail to address wage inequalities between the sexes.
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