Employment Law News – What’s new in Swedish Employment Law (First Quarter 2019)

Director-general wrongfully terminated by the state

On March 6, 2019, the Labor Court found that the state had wrongfully terminated Maria Ågren, the former director-general of the Swedish Transport Agency. In connection with an outsourcing arrangement between the agency and IBM, Maria Ågren decided to deviate from Swedish laws by giving foreign technicians working for IBM access to the agency’s IT systems containing confidential information, even though the technicians had not undergone security clearance checks. The state first transferred Maria Ågren to the position as director-general in the Government Offices, but after she accepted a summary imposition of a fine (fine of SEK 70,000) for being “careless with secret information”, the state terminated her employment with immediate effect. The Labor Court found that Maria Ågren, without fault of her own, had been put in a difficult situation as a newly appointed director-general. The court therefore came to the conclusion that Maria Ågren – despite the serious criticism that can made against her actions as director-general of the Transport Agency – had not breached her obligations in such serious way that it justifies a termination with immediate effect from her employment in the Government Offices. The termination was therefore declared null and void. [AD 2019 nr 15]

Reasonable notice period for a managing director

On February 20, 2019, the Labor Court granted an interim order prohibiting a former managing director who had resigned to compete with his former employer until the notice period expired. The court held that the managing director shall observe a reasonable notice period of six months since no notice period had been agreed upon between the parties. Managing directors are normally exempted from the Swedish Employment Protection Act which contain statutory provisions on notice periods for both the employee and the employer. Instead, managing directors and their employers are free to agree upon the terms and conditions of employment in accordance with general principles of contract law. According to case-law, a notice period of six months is reasonable in case the employer wants to terminate the managing director in a situation where no notice period has been agreed upon. From this ruling, the conclusion can be drawn that six months’ notice is also reasonable in case the managing director wants to terminate the employment and no notice period has been agreed upon. [AD 2019 nr 12]

New guide by the Equality Ombudsman regarding active measures

In January 2017, the rules regarding active measures in the Discrimination Act became stricter. The Equality Ombudsman is now launching a new digital guide to support employers’ work with active measures to prevent discrimination and promote equal rights and opportunities. The guide will give employers guidance on how to work with active measures and an insight into the various areas covered by the law. During 2019, the guide will be supplemented with more tips and examples.


Cecilia Bergman, Associate

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