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Swedish woman denied job after miscarriage

David Landes · 22 Jan 2011, 13:44

Published: 22 Jan 2011 13:44 GMT+01:00

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The case involved a woman who had been assigned a traineeship at the milk farm via Sweden’s National Employment Agency (Arbetsförmedlingen) in 2009.

Throughout her time on the farm, she expressed her desire to continue as a full-time employee. But when she told the farmer she had suffered a miscarriage in May 2009, her employee terminated her traineeship.

In subsequent conversations, which the woman had recorded, the farmer explained he didn’t want to hire someone who wanted to have children because of the complications and expense involved in finding a replacement during parental leave.

The woman took her case to Sweden’s Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen – DO), which represented her in a hearing before the Swedish Labour Court (Arbetsdomstolen – AD).

On Wednesday, the court found the farmer guilty of breaking Sweden’s discrimination laws as well as the country’s parental leave laws and ordered him to pay the woman 30,000 kronor ($4,500) in compensation.

“Many woman run into difficulties in their career when they become pregnant or plan on taking parental leave, especially when it comes to getting or holding onto one’s job,” ombudsman Katri Linna said in a statement.

“It’s often young women with uncertain employment conditions who lose their job. That causes serious consequences for the future of their career.”

During the proceedings, the employment officer who assigned the woman to work on the farm said he would have never offered her the traineeship if he had known she was pregnant.

Story continues below…

As a result of the man’s statement, the woman has also reported the National Employment Office to the Equality Ombudsman for discrimination.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:42 January 22, 2011 by ISayWhatPeopleThink
Hmm, she's only getting 30k in compensation?

Last year when the story came out DO was demanding 160k. Wonder how he got the sum dropped so much?

Source. aftonbladet.se/wendela/article7846423.ab
15:52 January 22, 2011 by byke
If she took an trainee workmanship position in which she clearly knew she wouldnt be able to fore fill (fully knowing her situation would lead to her not being able to complete the course within the time frame given), then I agree she should be fired.
16:04 January 22, 2011 by ISayWhatPeopleThink
Well, the incident with the milk farm happened June 2009.

She did end up getting having a daughter (Matilda) In April 2010.

So, that would place her getting preggers about July 2009.

So, had she been awarded the permanent position with the dairy farm which was due to start June 16th, she would have been pregnant about a month after getting the job.
17:50 January 22, 2011 by wxman
All governments need to keep out of private enterprise. Whether or not we work at a given place is srictly up to the owner and nobody else.
18:23 January 22, 2011 by Belize
wxman there are laws in every country regarding employment whether you live in the US, China or Sweden. Discrimination is one area that many countries have had to legislate against since business leaders often discriminated against their employees.
22:36 January 22, 2011 by GLO
This is just NUTS !!!!
23:20 January 22, 2011 by DAVID T
just another money grabber - she planned the whole thing - if you want to have kids fine but why should someone else pay for it
05:06 January 23, 2011 by repat_xpat
Sounds like she was just trying to milk the system.
11:11 January 23, 2011 by Nemesis
In all European Union countries, it is illegal to fire someone for getting pregnant. Sweden is in the European Union.

If anyone does not like that, they should leave Europe and move to somewhere were there mindset will match the local culture, such as Afghanistan, USA or Somalia.
13:37 January 23, 2011 by Streja
Good points there Nem!

I don't get it. She said she had had a miscarriage. Why did the boss automatically think she needed to be fired?
19:45 January 23, 2011 by Puffin
So should a man who plans to have children also be fired?
00:03 January 24, 2011 by Tanskalainen
No wonder the milk tastes funny.
13:08 January 24, 2011 by karex
People, she didn't get fired. She was simply not hired for the upcoming employement - different situation. She was a trainee at the time HOPING for a permanent position.
13:38 January 24, 2011 by soultraveler3
/sighs at Nemesis

Sorry to dissapoint you, but it's in fact NOT legal to fire someone in the states because they're pregnant or become pregnant. The only exception to this is if it's a very small company, 15 employees or less. That part sucks and shouldn't be there but it's a very low percentage of employeers that fit into that catagory.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act


That's the link.

As a side, even if you don't agree with / like a country or all of their policies, (I don't agree with many of the current policies either) jumping to conclusions and / or making off the wall statements doesn't make you look much better.

Just my two cents.
20:53 January 25, 2011 by bob3000

You should be a politician.

It is illegal, unless it is not....insert caveat.....classic.
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