Sweden: A dismissal of an employee was declared invalid due to a close connection with the employee’s upcoming parental leave

The case concerned an employee who was dismissed four days after he had requested parental leave from work. The question in the case was whether the dismissal constituted a violation of the Parental Leave Act or if the dismissal was based on legal grounds.

The Parental Leave Act (Sw. föräldraledighetslag (1995:584)) contains a non-discrimination principle in Sections 16 and 17, according to which an employee is discriminated against if the dismissal is in any aspect related to the parental leave. The Labour Court found that the short time between the application for parental leave and the dismissal indicated that the dismissal had such connection to the parental leave that it was in breach of the previously mentioned principle. Due to a reversed burden of proof concerning discrimination in the Parental Leave Act, the employer had to prove that the dismissal was not related to the parental leave. The employer claimed that the dismissal had been made in order to cut costs. However, the court found that the employer had hired other people to perform the claimant’s work and thus that the employer had failed to prove that the dismissal was not related to the parental leave. The employer was obligated to pay general damages to the employee amounting to SEK 40,000. (Labour Court – AD 2017 no. 7)

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