Nikolai Dangan in court: – I think it’s ridiculous

Nikolai Dangan in court: – I think it’s ridiculous

– We made her a very generous offer. It was as far as the public could tolerate us going, Duncan said.

In courtroom 369, Oil Fund CEO Nikolai Tangen explains what he did to resolve the conflict between Elizabeth Bull Take and management.

He says they had lunch together in February after the summons was issued.

– We had lunch together and agreed that this would be bad for everyone, and we offered her two full annual salaries, a one-year special program to reduce costs in the fund. In addition, we will cover all of her legal fees, and I have offered to be her personal counsel.

– That’s as far as we can go. We manage taxpayers’ money. She declined the offer, Duncan said.

– She wanted eight million kroner and a support group.

He said that the Oil Fund gave Bull Day several jobs:

– We have given her many jobs. She proved to be tough as she refused to meet her boss “one on one”. I think this is ridiculous. It’s like refusing to meet my boss, Ida Volden Bache.

Duncan was initially involved

For more than three weeks, the public has been given a rare glimpse of a labor dispute that has been completely deadlocked over the oil fund.

Bull Day’s attorney said the more than 2,000 pages of evidentiary materials include emails that show Tangen was notified long before the summons was sent.

– The last thing I wanted was for the case to end up in court, but I fully support HR in how they handled the case, said Duncan.

He said the test for the oil fund would be “minor”:

— I thought such a case would be negative for Elizabeth and small for us. Why is it so small for us?, continued Duncan:

– Yes, because Geir Øivind, Director of Market Strategies at the Oil Fund, is responsible for 75 percent of the Oil Fund. He has been sitting there for four weeks now making money. Therefore, it is important for us to find an amicable solution.

He says he was transferred against his will

Elizabeth Bull Day is a long-time oil fund manager with a PhD in mathematics. Believing she was illegally transferred against her will, she asked to make sure there was soap in the men’s toilets and fresh milk in the fridge in the communal area.

Elizabeth Bull Day sees oil fund manager Nikolai Dangan for the last time immediately after court adjourns following Dangan's testimony.

Elizabeth Bull Day sees oil fund manager Nikolai Dangan for the last time after the court adjourned following Dangan’s testimony (Photo: Gunnar Lear)

Bull Day still works at Oljefontein, but is fighting to keep his original leadership position as head of the securities trading analysis department (“head of trading analysis”).

Norwegian Oil Fund, for its part, believes that Bull Day’s changes in work assignments are within management’s rights and that no harassment or gender discrimination has occurred.

– At risk we found work that we thought was right. Bull Day was also involved towards the end. We have gone as far as possible. “We spent over a year helping her, and I don’t think that’s an exaggeration,” Duncan said.

Criticism of management

Elizabeth Bull Day described in court the difficult working conditions in parts of the oil fund where women had to endure bullying, exclusion and inappropriate slurs.

In a 2020-2021 internal work environment survey of 100 employees by the financial sector’s asset strategy, 12 percent of respondents said they had experienced harassment. 17 percent responded that they have reported bullying and harassment. Bull Day belongs to this category.

In the district court, Bull Day’s lawyer, Sigurd Knutson, leveled harsh criticism at the management of the oil fund for not addressing the working environment problems.

– It has been said that leading a knowledge-based organization is like herding wild cats. Great demands are placed on leading people. He said the conflict was caused by incompetent leadership.

– The most important management task is to sort out the situation when something has gone wrong or gone wrong, Knudtzon continued.

Bull Day believes that changing the notice is retaliation by management for warning of an uncivilized workplace.

Knudtzon pointed out that people who report negative conditions in oil finance risk paying a higher price domestically.

– When you record how Bull Day was handled by the management, who would dare to report the difficult personnel issues at Nbim?, Knudtzon told the court.

Bull Day believes it is a work environment problem

Duncan acknowledged that working conditions in Bull Day’s department were poor, but said management had taken steps to improve the situation.

– That is why we started new investigations. In a survey, many responded that the lawsuit was a direct cause of that. That is why we are sitting here.

– We are not sitting here because there is a common problem in the share trading department. “We’ve done a lot to address this,” replied Duncan.

– So you think the working environment is bad because of Bull Day, lawyer Sigurd Knudsen wanted to know:

– I think this is one reason for the conflict. This has caused stress not only for Elizabeth but also for others in the department. It has caused a lot of harm to many people.

– I have studied social psychology and have never seen a person cause so much stress to those around him.

Relationships were explored

In his party post, Bull talked about his relationship with another manager in the day department. Both informed higher authorities about their relationship. During epidemics, they lived under the same roof. As the relationship took a more serious turn, Bull Day accepted an 18-month temp job to put some distance between them. As TN mentioned earlier, he did not enjoy the job and felt it lacked professional work.

When Bull Day returned to his old job, the oil fund began investigating whether there was a conflict of interest in the film based on his relationship with a colleague. Bull Day believes neither she nor her partner were informed about this. They are not allowed to respond (contradiction) and she feels deeply violated, harassed and treated unfairly.

She thinks she’s sexist

Bull Day believes she is paid less than her male colleagues for equal work of equal value. Thus, the case against Oil Fund and Norges Bank covers demands for equal pay dating back ten years.

She also believes that women in oil finance lose more pay and bonuses than the statistics show.

– After receiving salary information, Knudtzon told the court that salary discrimination is not limited to Bull Day, but a systematic discrimination against women at this level, which is not included in Norges Bank’s statistics.

John Faulkner thanked oil fund manager Nikolai Dangan for the certificate.  At left is Elizabeth Bull Day.

John Faulkner thanked oil fund manager Nikolai Dangan for the certificate. At left is Elizabeth Bull Day. (Photo: Gunnar Lear)

To prove discrimination, she has asked to access the wages of 12 male colleagues who she believes are doing the same work of equal value.

Compares with Holland

Duncan rejects all allegations of pay discrimination and believes there are good objective reasons why more male colleagues are paid more than Bull Day.

The explanation is that they have completely different types of posts, or they have got completely different posts and have higher salaries after restructuring.

– Salaries are very different in the two divisions. We have to deal with it.

Duncan believes Bull Day is wrong to compare himself to colleagues who “take positions” on the market, meaning they are directly responsible for investments that involve risk.

– As if the referee in a football match should be paid for running on the grass.

Duncan asserted in court that those making direct investment decisions were working under inhumane pressure and therefore deserved higher wages:

– That’s because there’s a completely different stress load at work. If you have a bad day, you won’t sleep. It is very difficult. That’s why we hired a sports psychologist to help manage stress, who added:

– I know all about it. I know what it’s like to have a stomach ache every day for 18 months(rule)Copyright Dagens Næringsliv AS and/or our suppliers. We like to share our cases using links that lead directly to our pages. Reproduction or other forms of use of all or part of the Content is permitted with written permission or otherwise permitted by law. See here for additional terms.

Joshi Akinjide

Joshi Akinjide

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