Swedish Board of Migration Loses Landmark Court Case

A year ago, Lennart Eriksson, an asylum unit manager at the Swedish Board of Migration was demoted because he privately expressed admiration for US WW2 General Patton, because he regarded the US as a democracy and because he supported Israel’s right to exist.

Lennart Eriksson took his employer to court on the grounds of wrongful dismissal. Today the court reached its verdict: Lennart Eriksson has won his case on every count.

The court’s verdict is as follows:

The court regards the demotion of Lennart Eriksson as a clear case of attempted dismissal and concludes that this dismissal is illegal.

The court orders the Swedish Board of Migration to pay Eriksson damages to the tune of 100,000 Swedish kronor plus interest.

The Swedish Board of Migration has been ordered to pay Lennart Eriksson’s legal expenses in full, to the tune of almost 150,000 Swedish kronor plus interest.

Collapsed defence
The court did not find the defence arguments put forward by the Swedish Board of Migration to be valid. Palmér had called into question Eriksson’s ability to cooperate in the workplace, but all Eriksson’s previous managers and colleagues had the highest of praise for the ease with which he interacted with everyone at work.

Conservative politics “unorthodox”
Eugène Palmér had commented on the fact that Eriksson is a Conservative, saying that this was “rather unorthodox”. In this context it is worth mentioning that the ruling government coalition in Sweden is led by the Conservative party.

The court found in Eriksson’s favour that he had been demoted because he expressed, in his private time, opinions in support of democracy and because he was a Conservative, two viewpoints that appeared to be at odds with those of his manager, Eugène Palmér. The court found that Eriksson’s demotion was a discriminatory measure. In its ruling the court found that the demotion was an illicit means of coercing Eriksson to leave his job owing to his private political beliefs in democracy and his Conservative politics in a country governed by a Conservative-led coalition.

Discrimination and other illegal practices
The court also found that as part of the Migration Board’s discriminatory treatment of its employee, Eriksson had been receiving a lower than normal salary. The fact that Eugène Palmér offered Eriksson two years’ full pay if he resigned was taken by the court as a sign that the aim from the very outset had been to get rid of Eriksson.

Swedish Migration Board bases its policies on Hollywood movies
In a move highly unusual by Swedish standards, Eriksson’s request for compensation and full legal costs was ratified by the court without any reduction. This may be interpreted as an indication of the court’s feelings about the Swedish Board of Migration and its top officer, Eugène Palmér. Palmér said in court that Eriksson was unsuitable for his job because of Eriksson’s view that US WW2 general Patton was a great general, whereas Palmér knew for a fact that Patton was a disloyal and insubordinate officer because he “once saw a Hollywood movie about this”.

Lennart Eriksson can be contacted for comment on lennart@lennarteriksson.se, phone +46 702 672 333.
His lawyer Allan Stutzinsky can be reached on allan.stutzinsky@glimstedt.se, phone +46 31 710 4000 or +46 705 172 043.