Sweden is one of the most secular countries in the world with full freedom of religion. Further, freedom of conscience is a right protected by the European Convention on Human Rights. However, domestic law recognises no right to conscientious objection. A recent Labour Court decision has clarified from an employment law perspective whether freedom of conscience gives healthcare professionals a right to conscientious objection.
Businesses considering purchasing all or part of a business in Sweden often make several economic and organisational considerations regarding the assets and liabilities of the business being acquired. Employment-related issues and how any redundancies can be handled may also be contemplated. Despite such considerations, buyers commonly disregard entirely, or at least underestimate, the importance of employment regulations in connection with a transfer of undertakings.
The Labour Court recently reviewed whether actions conducted by the employees of a private waste collection and transportation company were illicit collective strike actions. According to the court, the employees had refrained from performing their work tasks in order to pressure the company into ending the demands to conduct an inventory of keys. This was a stoppage of work and an illicit collective strike action, since it had not been duly decided by the trade union.
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.