Mandate Vinge advised SAS in alleged discrimination claim

March 26, 2013

Vinge has advised SAS in its successful defence in proceedings at Stockholm District Court where Swedish SAS pilots had pursued an action in damages against SAS for alleged breaches of EU law.

The 33 SAS pilots were previously employed by Linjeflyg and commenced proceedings against SAS for alleged breaches of EU law in connection with their employment by SAS following the winding up of Linjeflyg in 1992. In brief, the claimants alleged that SAS had acted unlawfully by failing to permit them to include the period of service with their previous employer and as a consequence thereof had discriminated against them due to their Swedish nationality and thereby preventing them from exercising their freedom of movement under EU law.

The Court dismissed the claimant’s claims in a judgment delivered on 22 March this year. In its judgment, the Court states that EU law is not applicable to the pilots’ employment agreements since the circumstances pertained to purely internal, Swedish circumstances. The Court also notes that even if EU law had been applicable, the pilots’ claims could not succeed. The terms of employment did not entail that the pilots were discriminated against on the ground of their nationality or that they were prevented from exercising their right of free movement. Rather, the pilots had in fact received more favourable treatment compared to other newly-employed SAS pilots. In addition, the terms of employment were not contrary to generally accepted practice on the labour market or otherwise incompatible with Swedish labour law.  

The pilots now have three weeks in which to appeal the District Court’s judgment to the Swedish Labour Court. The Labour Court must also grant permission to appeal.

Vinge’s team consisted of Fredrik Gustafsson, Martin Johansson and Björn Lindskog.

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