international employment law firm alliance L&E Global

Sweden: An assistant nurse was entitled to damages due to unlawful dismissal

An assistant nurse at a care home for the elderly was summarily dismissed due to her inappropriate behaviour. The employer claimed that she had caused a care user harm by rough treatment and disregard to protocol and that her behaviour towards care users as well as colleges had been demeaning. Taking into account the witness statement of the care user, the Labour Court found that the assistant nurse had been blunt and rough in her treatment of the care user, which warranted criticism, but that the minor harm suffered by the care user had been unintentional and caused by an accident. Further, the court found that the behaviour had been demeaning, which warranted further criticism, but that such behaviour had not been directed towards care users or their next of kin. The court concluded that it was essential that care users as well as their next of kin could trust that the care was carried out in a respectful manner and that any violence towards care users would warrant stern actions. The court found that while the employer was entitled to demand that all employees acted in a respectful and professional manner towards the care users and their next of kin, the employer had not proven that the actions of the assistant nurse had constituted grounds for summary dismissal. As such, the court ruled that the employer was liable to pay damages to the assistant nurse amounting to SEK 370,000.