Compensation for unfair dismissal - free determination by court:
Compensation for unfair dismissal - Legal limits (ceiling in months or calculation method):
1) Dismissal is invalid:
Compensation for losses in respect of the period following the cessation of employment may not exceed 6 months' pay for less than 6 years of service, 16 months' pay for less than 5 years of service, 24 months' pay for at least 5 years and less than 10 years, 32 months' pay for ten years of service or more."
2) Dismissal is invalid and the employer refuses to comply with the court decision: employment is terminated and damages shall amount to 6 months' pay for less than 6 years of service, 16 months' pay for less than 5 years of service, 24 months' pay for at least 5 years and less than 10 years, 32 months' pay for ten years of service or more.
Sec. 38 EPA: “An employer who violates this Act shall be liable for damages for loss suffered by the employee as well as pay and other employment benefits to which the employee may be entitled. An employee who fails to comply with the notice obligations mentioned in Section 11, first paragraph, shall be liable for damages to the employer.
Damages under the first paragraph may comprise both compensation for losses sustained and for violation of the Act. Compensation for losses in respect of the period following the cessation of employment may not, under any circumstances, exceed the amount mentioned in Section 39. Where reasonable, damages may be reduced, in whole or in partu201d.
Sec. 39 EPA: “Where an employer refuses to comply with a court order that notice of termination or a summary dismissal is invalid, or that a fixed-term employment shall be valid for an indefinite term, the employment relationship shall be deemed to have been dissolved. As a consequence of the employer's refusal to comply with the court order, the employer shall pay damages to the employee under the following provisions.
Damages are to be determined according to the employee's total period of employment with the employer at the time of dissolution of the employment relationship, and shall correspond to the following amounts:
-16 months' pay for less than five years of employment;
-24 months' pay for at least five years but less than ten years of employment;
- 32 months' pay for ten or more years of employment;
Damages may not be determined, however, in such a manner that such damages are calculated on the basis of a greater number of months than have actually been commenced with the employer. Where the employee has been employed by the employer for less than six months, the amount assessed shall correspond to six months' pay. SFS (2007:389)u201d.
If an employee has been dismissed, without the dismissal being justified by an objective reason, the employee is according to sec. 34 EPA upon request, entitled to have the dismissal annulled. If the court rules that the dismissal is invalid, the employment continues on the same terms as before. Sec. 37 EPA states that if the Court has ruled that the dismissal is invalid, the employer may not suspend the employee from work as a consequence of the circumstances that caused the notice of termination or summary dismissal.
Sec. 34 EPA: “Where notice of termination is given without objective grounds, the notice shall be declared invalid upon the application of the employee. However, the above-mentioned provision shall not apply where the notice of termination is challenged solely on the grounds that it is in breach of the rules regarding priority.
If a dispute arises concerning the validity of a notice of termination, the employment shall not terminate as a consequence of the notice prior to the final adjudication of the dispute. Nor may the employee be suspended from work as a consequence of the circumstances that caused the notice to be given, in the absence of special reasons for such. The employee shall be entitled to pay and other benefits under Sections 12 - 14 for the duration of the employment.
Pending final adjudication of the dispute, a court may rule that employment will terminate at the expiration of the period of notice, or at a later time determined by the court, or that a current suspension shall be discontinuedu201d.
Sec. 37 EPA: “Where a court has issued a final order that a notice of termination or a summary dismissal is invalid, the employer may not suspend the employee from work as a consequence of the circumstances that caused the notice of termination or summary dismissalu201d.
Preliminary mandatory conciliation:
The Labour Disputes Act (1974:371) requires the trade union and the employer or the employers' organization to have completed negotiations before bringing an action to court. However, the right to negotiate does not apply to individual employees. Source: Jenny Julén Votinius, Sweden, in ILO (eds. Ebisui, M; Cooney, S; Fenwick, C), 2016, Resolving Individual Labour Disputes, A comparative overview, at pp.241-242. Available at: http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---publ/documents/publication/wcms_488469.pdf
Ch.4, sec. 7 Labour Disputes Act (1974:371): “An action may not be considered by the Labour Court before such negotiations in respect of the issue in dispute as may be requested under the Employment (Codetermination in the Workplace) Act (1976:580) or as are provided for in a collective bargaining agreement, have taken place.
The provisions of the first paragraph shall not apply to actions under Section 31, first or third paragraph, of the Employment (Co-determination in the Workplace) Act (1976:580), nor to any dispute as to whether an industrial action has been taken in breach of a statute or collective bargaining agreement, nor to any dispute concerning the sanctions for such action. However, in cases referred to in Section 43 of the Employment (Co-determination in the Workplace) Act (1976:580) where the duty of the deliberation has not been discharged, the Labour Court may not consider the dispute before this is done.
Notwithstanding the provisions of the first and second paragraphs, an action may be considered as regards an interim order pending a judgment or decision in the case entering into final legal force. Following such examination, a stay of proceedings shall be ordered pending the completion of negotiations or deliberations concerning the issue in dispute, under the first or second paragraph. The case may not be finally determined until such negotiations or deliberations have been concluded.
Where negotiations or deliberations as referred to in the first or second paragraph have not taken place, the claim may nevertheless be considered by the court if there is some impediment to such negotiations or deliberations which is not attributable to the plaintiff (SFS 1992:441)u201d.
The Employment (Co-determination in the Workplace) Act sets out the legal framework for trade union negotiations. Sec. 10 of the Employment (Co-determination in the Workplace) Act: “An employees' organisation shall have the right to negotiate with an employer on any matter relating to the relationship between the employer and any member of the organisation who is, or has been, employed by that employer. An employer shall have an equivalent right to negotiate with an employees' organisation.
Employees' organisations shall also have the right to negotiate, in accordance with the first paragraph, in relation to any organisation of which the employer is a member, and similarly employers' organisations in relation to any organisation of which the employee is a memberu201d.
Competent court(s) / tribunal(s):
The Labour Court has jurisdiction over labour disputes provided that the parties are bound by collective agreements and that they are members of an employers' association or a trade union. If individual workers want to bring a case on their own, without support from their trade union or because they do not belong to a union, they can only do so in a district court. Note that in Sweden, around 70 % of workers are union members.
Ch. 2 sec. 1 of the Labour Disputes Act (1974:371): “The Labour Court shall, as a court of first instance, take up and determine any dispute where the action is brought by an employers’ or employees’ organisation, or by an employer who has concluded its own collective agreement, where the case involves:
1. a dispute relating to a collective agreement or any other labour dispute referred to in the Employment (Co-determination in the Workplace) Act (1976:580);
2. any other labour dispute, provided that a collective agreement is in force between the parties or that an individual employee who is affected by the dispute is employed for work covered by a collective agreement that is binding on the employer.
The Labour Court is the competent court under the first paragraph even when a collective agreement is temporarily suspended.
Any other labour dispute between the same or other parties may be consolidated with a labour dispute under the first or second paragraph, if the Court considers such processing appropriate having regard to the material presented and other circumstances. The Court may separate the cases again if there are grounds to do so.
The Labour Court is always competent as a court of first instance to take up and determine disputes concerning industrial action referred to in Sections 41, 41b and 41c of the Employment (Co-determination in the Workplace) Act (1976:580)” (SFS 2010:230)
Ch. 2 sec. 2 of the Labour Disputes Act (1974:371): “Labour disputes other than those referred to in Section 1 shall be dealt with and determined by a district court.
Actions referred to in Section 1 which are brought by an employer who has himself concluded a collective bargaining agreement, or by an employers' or employees' organisation on its own behalf, may be brought at a district court instead of the Labour Non-official translation Court. Where the defendant is an organisation, or where the dispute would have been commenced against an organisation under Chapter 4, Section 5, second paragraph, if the dispute had been commenced before the Labour Court, the foregoing shall apply only in accordance with such agreement as referred to in Chapter 10, Section 16 of the Code of Judicial Procedure.
In a labour dispute under the first or second paragraph of this Section, the employer may be proceeded against at the court in the district in which the employee is resident (SFS 1977:530)”.
Labour disputes may be settled through arbitration by agreement. However, certain restrictions apply, such as the restrictions set out in ch.1 sec.3 of the Labour Disputes Act (1974:371).
“In most areas, arbitration is a permitted alternative to judicial review in individual labour disputes. The only general exception is discrimination cases, where there is a prohibition on arbitration clauses that have been concluded prior to the dispute, and that deny the parties the possibility to appeal the arbitral award. In other disputes, an arbitration clause is normally valid provided that it is not deemed unreasonable, which is very unusualu201d. “In individual employment contracts, arbitration clauses typically appear in the contracts of employees holding prominent positions, mainly CEOs. For other categories of employees, it is very unusual for an individual employment contract to stipulate that future disputes shall be made subject to arbitrationu201d. Source: Jenny Julén Votinius, Sweden, in ILO (eds. Ebisui, M; Cooney, S; Fenwick, C), 2016, Resolving Individual Labour Disputes, A comparative overview, at pp.255-256. Available at: http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---publ/documents/publication/wcms_488469.pdf
Ch.1. sec.3 of the Labour Disputes Act (1974:371): “Disputes to be dealt with under this Act may by agreement be referred for determination by an arbitrator instead. However, this shall not apply to cases referred to in Section 31, first or third paragraph, of the Employment (Co-determination in the Workplace) Act (1976:580). Nor shall any agreement that was concluded prior to the dispute whereby any dispute should be determined by an arbitrator without reservation of the right of the parties to challenge the arbitral award be applied in disputes concerning the right of association or in disputes under
– the Prohibition of Discrimination of Employees Working Part Time and Employees with Fixed-term Employment Act (2002:293); or
– the Discrimination Act (2008:567). (SFS 2008:574)u201d.
Sec. 31 of the Employment (Co-determination in the Workplace) Act (1976:580): “Where an employer, employee or organisation bound by a collective bargaining agreement has committed a gross breach of such an agreement or of this Act and where such provisions have a fundamental significance on the contractual relationship as a whole, a court may, upon motion of the other party, declare that a collective bargaining agreement by which the parties are bound is no longer applicable to such parties.
Where a collective bargaining agreement has been concluded by several parties on either side or on both sides and where a declaratory judgment has been made under the first paragraph of this Section in respect of only some of them, any other party may, within three weeks thereafter, terminate the agreement on its own behalf with immediate effect.
Where a court determines that particular actions are contrary to a collective bargaining agreement or to this Act, it may, upon application, release an employer, employee or organisation from its obligations under the collective bargaining agreement or this Act, to the extent it cannot be reasonably required that such obligations be fulfilled (SFS 1977:532)u201d.
Length of procedure:
Statistics for 2002.
This figure refers to all the cases brought to the labour court acting as a first instance.