Companies and individuals acting on the Swedish labour market should be aware of the delimitation in law between consultants and employees. Whether an individual is to be considered a company consultant or an employee will determine the applicability of employment protection and could have significant tax implications affecting both companies and private individuals.
The legislature recently amended the law known as 'Lex Laval', according to which the right to conduct collective actions against foreign labour stationed in Sweden has been limited. The amendments in Lex Laval, which entered into force in June 2017, bring expanded rights for Swedish trade unions through collective actions by demanding that workplaces with foreign labour be covered by Swedish collective agreements.
Calculating compensation for damages can be complicated. The Labour Court recently ruled on this matter and made three individuals and their company liable to pay damages of several million Swedish kroner. It is the first case of its type and magnitude to be tried by a court of the highest instance. The Supreme Court has also decided that the dispute in question is a labour dispute, not a civil claims case.
Following the government's recent finding that whistleblower protection must be improved, new legislation has entered into force. The new legislation has given Sweden its first act specifically on whistleblowing. While the Whistleblowing Act does not regulate any right for employees to blow the whistle about wrongdoing, it protects employees and temporary workers who report serious wrongdoings in their employer's business from retaliation.
The Supreme Court has ruled that under certain conditions a trade union may be liable for damages if industrial action has taken place in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. Previously, the general opinion was that employers' organisations and trade unions could not be liable for such damage claims. The decision is particularly significant for small companies, which are more affected by such industrial action.