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Employment contract - 22.05.2020 klo 10.55

Court of Appeal confirms dismissal of sales assistant was illegal and orders employer to pay damages

Photo: Gettyimages

A sales assistant working at co-operative retailer Varuboden-Osla Handelslag was dismissed for smoking and eating pick & mix candy during working time.

Varuboden-Osla Handelslag dismissed the sales assistant in winter 2017. The reason for terminating the employment contract was smoking in working time. The sales assistant had been given a warning for smoking and eating pick & mix candy. The employer claimed the same conduct continued after the warning and dismissed her. The sales assistant contested the claims.

The sales assistant, with the support of PAM, took the case to the District Court, where she won. The District Court considered that there were not proper and compelling grounds for the dismissal because, among other reasons, smoking was common practice at the workplace.

The employer appealed the decision of the District Court to the Court of Appeal, which confirmed that the dismissal was unfounded. However, at the Court of Appeal the damages ordered to be paid to the sales assistant went down from the equivalent of 14 months’ wages ordered by the District Court to 7 months’ wages. The Court of Appeal also ordered Varuboden-Osla Handelslag to reimburse the sales assistant two thirds of legal costs.

Following her dismissal, the sales assistant found another job elsewhere.  

The decision of the Court of Appeal is not yet final.