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Sweden: Dismissal of Employee for Driving Illegally at His Workplace Deemed Lawful Despite Possible Alcoholism

An employer in the industry sector dismissed an employee who, for seven months, had driven vehicles in the employer’s industrial area despite his driver’s license being revoked due to drunk driving. The employees’ organisation argued that the illegal driving was due to the employee suffering from alcoholism. The Labour Court found that the employee had deviated from the requirements on reliability regarding safety in such a way that the employer had the right to dismiss the employee. The Labour Court highlighted the risky nature of the work and the complex and dangerous traffic environment in the industrial area as factors of importance in the assessment of whether the dismissal was lawful. Furthermore, the employee had lied to the employer when he was asked how long he had been driving illegally. According to the Labour Court, the employee’s possible alcoholism (disease) could not be considered to have caused the illegal driving. The investigation, including the consultation with a doctor, did not provide any support for the fact that the illegal driving in the industrial area or the lie about the illegal driving could be an expression of alcoholism. The employee had breached his obligations to his employer in such a severe manner that other circumstances, such as an otherwise faultless employment, could not be attributed significance in the assessment of the dismissal question.