Sweden: Labour Court affirms the Employer’s Managerial Prerogative to Reassign a Convicted Prosecutor
A senior chamber prosecutor was sentenced to probation with supervision for driving under the influence and causing bodily injury. Following the prosecutor’s conviction, the employer reassigned him to a different department for the duration of the probationary period. The prosecutor’s new assignments were of an administrative nature and he no longer had any operational tasks. The prosecutor claimed that the new assignments had changed his employment as senior chamber prosecutor in such a fundamental way, that the reassignment was to be regarded as a termination of employment.
The Swedish Labour Court held that, although the prosecutor’s new assignments differed substantially from his previous tasks, the assignments required the same education and qualifications and did not differ in terms of complexity and responsibility. The court also noted that the reassignment was not permanent and that the prosecutor could keep his title, salary and other terms of employment. The court ruled that the issue of reassignment is inherently vested within the employer’s managerial prerogative and as a result, the reassignment was not to be regarded as a termination of employment.
Key Action Points for Human Resources and In-house Counsel
Reassigning an employee to responsibilities that differ substantially from the employee’s ordinary assignments can be within the employer’s prerogative, if the employee is entitled to the same terms of employment and the new duties require the same education and qualifications, and do not differ in terms of complexity and responsibility.