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Sweden: An employee’s unapproved absence from work after a dispute concerning annual leave was considered grounds for summary dismissal

An employer and employee disagreed on the planning of the employee’s annual leave. Following the disagreement, the employee was absent from work for a week in connection with the planned annual leave without the employer’s approval. On the first day of absence, the employer sent a written warning to the employee and ordered the employee to return to work. The employee ignored the letter. At the end of the first week of absence, the employer sent a second letter in which the employer assumed that the employee had left his employment. When the employee subsequently returned to the workplace, the employer told the employee that he was no longer employed. The employee filed a claim against the employer for wrongful dismissal. The Labour Court found that the employer’s second letter should be considered as a summary dismissal. Further, the court found that the summary dismissal was lawful due to the employee’s gross misconduct. However, the employer had not observed the procedural rules on summary dismissals and the Court found the employer liable to pay damages amounting to SEK 10,000 for not observing the procedural rules.