Swedish court rules Jewish doctor's wrongful dismissal, antisemitism

Judges say hospital must reinstate neurosurgeon or pay him the equivalent of 32 salaries; dismissal follows Doctor's complaint against antisemitic comments made by staff and the retaliatory actions, including pay cut and adverse working conditions, imposed by hospital administration

Itamar Eichner|
The Swedish Labor Court ruled on Thursday that Dr. N., a physician that complained that he was fired on antisemitic grounds, was wrongfully dismissed from his post.
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  • Dr. N. was fired after he complained about antisemitic abuse he suffered at Karolinska University Hospital.
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    בית החולים האוניברסיטאי בקרולינסקה, שוודיה
    בית החולים האוניברסיטאי בקרולינסקה, שוודיה
    Karolinska University Hospital
    (Photo: I99pema, Wikipedia)
    The court accepted the doctor’s claim that he was wrongfully dismissed, after the hospital he worked in, took responsibility and confessed that the dismissal was baseless. The court later ordered the hospital to pay Dr. N. the sum of all of his paycheck since he was dismissed, with added interest.
    The judges also imposed a fine on the hospital, and said Dr. N. is to be reinstated, or be paid compensation amounting to 32 months of work. The court also ruled that the court fees were to be payed by the hospital.
    Patricia Enocsson, director of the human resources department in Karolinska University Hospital, said the hospital accepted the ruling in order to avoid a protracted trial.
    “It won’t benefit anyone involved, and we have a responsibility as employers,” she said. “We worked hard on the case. Great efforts were made to repair the matter. We took responsibility, and weighed every option,” she said.
    The Swedish Medical Association sued the hospital in June, claiming Dr. N., a neurosurgeon, was wrongfully dismissed. His dismissal was the final step after measures directed against him, including lowering his pay, and assigning him to jobs, which limited his ability to work as a neurosurgeon.
    Johan Steerod, head of the Swedish Medical Association, said this is the end of a long process. “It took so long, and was tragic to our colleague, ” he said. “It’s good that the court reached the conclusion that the dismissal was wrong. We stood by our colleague and did out best, we’re sorry about the process.”
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    (Photo: shutterstock)
    Raheli Baratz-Rix, head of the department for combatting antisemitism in the World Zionist Organization, said that “this is a very important victory in the fight for awareness and narrative, and an important message to government institutions around the world that Jews should not be harmed,”
    She added: “This is the time to bring international awareness to the issue. No Jew in the world should feel like he is being discriminated against due to his faith.”
    “We’ll continue to fight and demand justice,” she said. “It’s every Jewish person’s right to feels secure wherever he is – it’s every country’s responsibility. We’ll continue to stand by him, and fight antisemitism around the world.”
    Dr. N.’s story begins in 2018, when he claimed he suffered antisemitic remarks . The doctor sues the hospital in 2021, and was later dismissed despite his accomplished medical career.
    The antisemitic incident he experienced included remarks towards Jewish doctors in his department in person as well as on social media. One of the senior physicians in his department shared anti-Israeli posts online including antisemitic caricatures.
    Dr. N. said his dismissal came after he complained about the incidents, and said he suffered further abuses before he was finally dismissed.
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    קריקטורות אנטישמיות שפרסם אחד הרופאים הבכירים בבית החולים. רופא אחר טען: הוא לא אנטישמי אם לא צעד במצעד עם מדים נאציים
    קריקטורות אנטישמיות שפרסם אחד הרופאים הבכירים בבית החולים. רופא אחר טען: הוא לא אנטישמי אם לא צעד במצעד עם מדים נאציים
    An antisemitic post shared by one of the doctor's colleague
    “Following my complaints about the incidents, staff in the hospital began working against me,” he told Ynet. “They took revenge because of my complaints, and their responses included using ‘heavy ammunition’ with antisemitic acts.”
    Dr. N. said his work hours were cut , he wasn’t allowed to operate, and a “supervisor” was with him at all times.
    “The hospital violated the Swedish and international laws with their baseless accusations against me, in professional and defamation cases,” he added: “and it was all due to my complaints about the antisemitic incident by the hospital staff.”
    “The Lawfare Project”, a Jewish legal body in the U.S., sent a six-page letter to the Karolinska University Hospital in October 2021, claiming the institution was “spreading antisemitism which seems to have become the norm in the hospital.”
    According to reports on Swedish media, the hospital claimed that the doctor’s dismissal was because he did not follow administrative procedures. The Swedish Medical Association, seeing the dismissal as illegal, filed a lawsuit to the Swedish labor court asking for a ruling against the wrongful dismissal.
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