Wrong to sack cop for lewd blog posts: court
TT/The Local/dl · 7 Sep 2011, 14:56
Published: 07 Sep 2011 14:56 GMT+02:00
The case involves a police officer from Skåne in southern Sweden who used a blog written under the pseudonym Farbror Blå (Uncle Blue) to describe an occasion when he and a fellow officer "bell-ended* the door handles, window buttons, gear stick, steering wheel, stereo buttons and the police radio buttons, as well as the receiver used to talk to the operations room.
The practice of bell-ending, or ollning in Swedish, involves a man touching an object with his glans and has established itself as a recurring form of practical joke in Sweden.
The term comes from ollon, the Swedish word for glans.
"When the girls had driven around for an hour or so in the bell-ended police car we had a chat with them and revealed our bell-ending exploits.
"Now we know what a facial expression of bleak anxiety looks like," he wrote, ending his post with a smiley face.
The posts first gained attention in March 2010, and after the identity of the blogger was confirmed, the officer was fired from his position on the police force in June of that year after following a ruling by the National Police Agency's (Rikspolisstyrelsen, RPS) staff disciplinary board.
But police unions, objecting to the officer's termination, argued that it constituted a case of unfair dismissal and filed an appeal with the Swedish Agency for Government Employers (Arbetsgivarverket) to have the decision overturned.
"We demand that the decision is overturned. The Police Union does not consider there to be factual grounds for dismissal. We demand general and economic compensation," the union wrote in its application on behalf of the officer.
In addition to blogging about touching different parts of a female officer's car with his penis, 'Uncle Blue' also wrote in lurid detail about a call-out to a student residence where a mentally unstable young woman allegedly made sexual advances towards both him and his partner.
"We decided we couldn't force her into institutional care. Being horny isn't dangerous, after all," he wrote.
Further blog posts included details of how he shook hands with a man who had just hanged himself, provoking guffaws from his colleagues. He also claimed it felt "damn good" to punch somebody in the mouth.
The case was eventually taken up by the Swedish Labour Court (Arbetsdomstolen) which ruled on Wednesday that the Skåne County police department didn't have the right to fire the man because of his blog posts.
The court ordered the police department to reinstate the officer and that he be receive 125,000 kronor ($19,500) in compensation.
However, the court rejected the officer's request for reimbursement for lost wages.
*Translation note: Bell-ending, a neologism derived from a slang term for the glans, is not a word in common English-language usage.