Following the covid-19 pandemic, an employee was made redundant. According to the Swedish Employment Protection Act, a notice of termination must contain information on how to file legal action for a declaratory judgement that the termination was not valid. If the notice contains such information, the employee must notify the employer of the intent to file such claim within two weeks from receiving the notice. If not, the limitation period is prolonged to a month after the last day of employment. In the present case, a notice of termination containing the required information was sent by registered letter to the employee’s last known home address since the employee was on sick leave with symptoms of a covid-19 infection. The employee had recently moved without notifying the employer of his new address. Thus, the registered letter was sent to his old address and the employee did not receive a postal notice to collect the letter.
According to the Employment Protection Act, employers may only send a notice of termination by registered letter if it is not considered reasonable to demand that the notice is delivered personally. If sent by registered letter, the notice of termination is considered to be delivered when it is collected or at the latest ten days after the letter is sent, regardless of whether or not the employee collected the letter. In the present case, the employee organization which the employee was a member of filed a request for negotiations regarding the validity of the termination 27 days after the notice was sent. The employer objected to the negotiations claiming that it was reasonable for the employer to send the notice of dismissal by registered letter, that the notice should be considered to have been delivered ten days after the letter was sent and that the limitation period of two weeks consequently had expired. The employee claimed that he could not be considered to have received the notice and thus not been informed about how to file legal action.
The Labour Court ruled that it was not reasonable to demand that the notice was delivered personally since the employee showed symptoms of a contagious disease. Consequently, the employer had legal grounds to send the notice of dismissal by registered letter and since it was undisputed that the notice contained the required information on legal actions the two-week limitation period began ten days after the letter was sent. The Labour Court stated that the fact that the employee had never actually collected the letter did not affect the limitation period since the letter was sent to the last known address of the employee. Thus, the employee’s legal claim was subject to statutory limitation.
For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Sweden, please contact Robert Stromberg (Partner) of Cederquist at email@example.com or visit www.cederquist.se.