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Sweden – Labour Court rules on special responsibilities of remote workers

Written by
Elmzell Advokatbyrå, one of the leading labour and employment law practices in Sweden, guaranteeing comprehensive and high quality assistance for all of our clients.
More and more people work remotely, particularly from home. When this does not work, it can lead to problems that can be difficult to control and correct. This article discusses a recent Swedish Labour Court decision on the responsibilities of remote workers.  

At the beginning of the year, the Swedish Labour Court issued a decision in a case relating to a survey engineer who worked remotely and independently (AD 2019 No. 2). The question in the case was whether there were grounds for dismissal and the Labour Court concluded that this was the case.

When it comes to whether an employee can be terminated for personal reasons, an assessment must always be made in the individual case. In this case, the survey engineer had failed to fulfill his responsibilities on a large number of occasions towards his employer. The employee did not follow the procedures for going to the office, communicating with his immediate manager and submitting reports in due time in accordance with his employer’s instructions.

In particular, the Labour Court stated that when work is done remotely and in an independent manner, away from the employee’s management, the employee enjoys a special degree of trust. With this particular trust, there is also a special responsibility when it comes to communicating with the employer but also to following the employer’s routines. Therefore, it can be important that there are instructions in place for how the work should be carried out remotely. When that is the case, both the employer and the employee know what is expected of them in terms of communications and follow-ups.

Petter Wenehult
Partner - Sweden
Elmzell Advokatbyrå
Sofia Lysén
Associate - Sweden
Elmzell Advokatbyrå