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Appealing employment decisions and the Board of Appeal

As a rule, any person who has applied for an employment position but has not been successful or any person who otherwise believes they have been affected by the decision, e.g. where a position has been filled without being advertised, can appeal against an employment decision made by a state agency.

An appeal must be made to the agency that made the decision, and it must be lodged within three weeks of the decision being posted on the authority's notice board. The appeal is then heard by a special Board of Appeal.
Employment decisions by employers outside the state sector, such as Jönköping University or Chalmers, cannot be appealed.

Appealing employment decisions within higher education

All employment decisions by state higher education institutions, irrespective of whether they concern permanent or fixed-term positions, can be appealed to the Higher Education Appeals Board with one exception. The exception concerns employment as a doctoral candidate.

The Higher Education Appeals Board also examines a range of other issues. Most of these concern students in undergraduate programmes, but decisions about withdrawal of resources, e.g. supervision, for doctoral candidates can also be appealed to the board.

On what grounds can employment decisions be appealed?

An employment decision can be appealed if someone believes that they, based on the rules that employment in the state sector is to go to the most skilled applicant, are more qualified than the person who got the job or if they believe that formal errors occurred in the process. Examples of the latter include the position not being advertised, a lack of impartiality in the process or an omission that may have affected the decision.

How are appeals conducted?

When an appeal has been submitted, the agency concerned must check that it has arrived within the stipulated time frame and then immediately forward it to the Board of Appeal. The Board will then assess whether this is a decision that can be taken up for appeal. If so, the agency and the person who received the position are given the opportunity to state their response to the appeal and to support their opinion. After this, the appellant has the right to be heard again.

How can I appeal against an employment decision?

It is important to check when the hiring decision was made and posted on the authority's notice board, as you only have three weeks from that date to appeal. Often, unsuccessful applicants in time, but this is not guaranteed. The following may be useful points to consider when you appeal:

  • State your reasons for the appeal clearly. Do you want the Board of Appeal to rule that you are to get the job or that the process is to be carried out again from the beginning due to formal errors? It is good to claim both, but then indicate that your primary wish is to be given the position.
  • Describe as clearly as possible why you think the decision is wrong. Make sure to include all relevant aspects without writing too much.
  • The Higher Education Appeals Board website provides examples of decisions. It is a good idea to read through these to see how the Board has ruled in previous cases.

What happens if the Board of Appeal rules against an employment decision?

If an employment decision is revoked, the employment contract that normally has already been signed by another applicant is not affected. However, it is assumed that the agency will abide by the Board’s decision. If the Board of Appeal's decision means that someone else is to be hired, there will therefore be two employees in that position. This may mean that there is a situation where there is a lack of work. If, on the other hand, the decision means that the process is to be conducted again because formal errors have been committed, it may result in the same person being employed or someone else being given the position. In the latter case, the same situation as described above occurs.

What support can SULF provide?

As an appeal process means that two applicants, who may both be members of SULF, are competing with each other in a recruitment process, SULF can only assist those involved with general advice on the process.
If, on the other hand, the appellant is successful in their appeal and the agency does not wish to respect the decision, or if the person who originally got the job loses it after the appeal, SULF will consider whether to can assist the person concerned. In such a case, you should contact the Saco-S Association at your workplace.