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'Bully' bosses on trial after co-worker's suicide

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'Bully' bosses on trial after co-worker's suicide
11:52 CET+01:00
A widow in northern Sweden has taken a landmark case against her late husband's former employer claiming that his suicide was caused by bullying in the workplace.

Lars Persson, who worked for 30 years as a social worker, took his own life in 2010. His widow Maria said his mood deteriorated a year earlier when he got a new boss who she claims was not happy with her late husband's work. 

"She picked on him. Lasse got scared, developed stomach cramps and was unable to sleep," Maria Lundqvist Persson told Aftonbladet.

The widow's husband was 53 when he took his own life. He was employed as a social worker in the Krokom's municipality and enjoyed his work until the last year of his life said his surviving wife.

She claims that her deceased husband was bullied at work and has taken her case to the Östersund District Court, arguing that two of his bosses caused her husband's suicide by giving him especially abusive treatment. Both face a charge of a work environment crime.

"He felt he was being called into question and was removed of some of his duties and he became more unsure. He took it hard and felt he was getting singled out" his widow Maria told Sveriges Television (SVT).

Prior to his suicide in June 2010, Lars Persson had reported one of his managers, who is now being accused in the trial, for bullying in the workplace. When the investigation was completed it was declared that Persson hadn't been victimized or harassed.

Instead, Persson was given a warning for errors made in his work. In May 2010, he was told in a meeting that he may lose his job and sank into a deep depression, his wife claims.

"It shattered Lars. He was a wreck," she told Aftonbladet.

A month later he was dead.

Prosecutor Åse Schoultz said earlier that Persson had felt "bullied" and "depressed" as a result of what happened in the workplace.

The two accused bosses deny the charges.

Meanwhile, his widow Maria said she isn't driven by revenge, but to bring the case out into the open. She along with the couple's three children will attend the trial which is expected to be concluded in December.

"The most important thing for us is to make amends and to be believed," she told Aftonbladet.

She added that she hoped the case would help others who may have been bullied in the workplace to come forward.  

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