Försäkringskassan (“Swedish Insurance Agency”) dismissed employee due to actions of employee’s younger brother

By Madelene Ackheim

08-2020

The employee who was terminated had previously worked five years at Arbetsförmedlingen (“Swedish Employment Agency”), and was offered employment at Försäkringskassan after interviews, tests and in competition with 200 other applicants. An employment agreement was signed on the 5th July 2019. It was a permanent position, to be commenced on the 1st September with a six-month probationary period.

On the 15th July, before the probationary period had even commenced, the applicant was contacted by a manager at Försäkringskassan who asked him to come by the office. When he did so two days later, he was informed that his employment would be terminated before its start date. A couple of days later, the employee and his trade union representative were informed that the reason for terminating the employment was that the employee’s younger brother was due to be charged with a narcotics-related crime before a criminal court.

Trade union ST, who are representing the employee, are now suing the Swedish government (Försäkringskassan is a government agency). Normally, employment cases are tried on grounds of the Swedish Employment Protection Act (Sw. "Lagen om anställningsskydd (LAS)"), however in this case, it is not possible to invoke the Employment Protection Act due to termination taking place before the end of the probationary period, thus must be tried on other bases.

The trade union argues that Försäkringskassan is breaking the law (namely the Swedish constitution and the European Convention) by using circumstances which are outside the control of the employee, and cannot be linked to him personally, in terminating the employment. Furthermore, ST states that Försäkringskassan should not have collected personal data about the employee’s brother. The employment in question does not require security clearing, and even in cases where the highest security clearing applies, there is no legal support for collecting information about siblings. In addition, ST argues that Försäkringskassan is also in breach of “good practice on the labour market”.

The employee has since found other employment with lower pay than that offered at Försäkringskassan, thus compensation is now sought for loss of earnings.

We will keep you informed on any updates on this remarkable court case!