The following is a badly translated true story of police state totalitarianism.
A dental hygienist advised the Migration Board about adult “unaccompanied” – was therefore kicked out of work. Now the entire family property can be confiscated by the region of Gotland, who hired a star lawyer.
It was in July last year that at the time 56-year-old dental hygienist Bernt Herlitz with his wife looked into one of Almedalen’s seminars dealing with age assessment in the judiciary and in the sports world. The theme was urgent for the couple because both of them worked at the Public Health Service in Visby, where many of the so-called unaccompanied refugees turned their teeth. In 2016, the debate on unanimity rose – not least because of the high cost of living, which in some cases could be 6-8 thousand kronor per day.
“I would probably appreciate that up to 80% of them were obviously adults. This can be seen, for example, on wisdom teeth that were fully grown – something that is only seen in adults, Bernt says.
“The suspicions must be reported”
The subject was a snack in the breakfast room, but nobody knew how to ignore the suspicion, according to Bernt. In the aftermath seminar Seminaria participated, among others, Åsa Carlander-Hemingway, a unit manager from the Swedish Migration Board, who told the couple that it is important at the right age and that all suspicions should be reported to the Swedish Migration Board.
Said and done – when he returned to work in August that year Bernt began to advise the Migration Board about his suspicions. In total, he sent more than 8 emails where he stated that he was a dental hygienist and felt that the age stated in the Migration Board’s actions was wrong.
– It is important that the right thing is right – not least because adults do not live with children.
Little Bernard thought what would happen next. He never received any response from the Swedish Migration Board. Instead, one of the official officials forwarded his e-mail to a good man for one of the people the tips were about. Good man, in turn, contacted Bernt’s head at Folktandvården, Mats Kvarnberg. It did not take long before a full commitment was started.
“The manager asked me to come to a single room where there was also another senior manager from the employer, the region of Gotland. They told me I will not go to work tomorrow, that I’m turned off and that there will be an investigation.
How did it feel?
– It felt heavy. But I did not realize the seriousness of it yet. I told you that the woman from the Migration Board had said that I would report. I thought it would be done in a few days and I could get back to work.
But, really, it did not. 14 days later Bernt was dismissed after 10 years of service at Folktandvården. The employer said he broke patient confidentiality, which would have been for his patients.
Suspended and humiliated
All three local newspapers on Gotland described him as a dangerous lawyer and turned on right-wing extremist as “age-rated refugees on their own.” The news also reached SVT .
– They wrote about me on the first page without even contacting me. One felt so enormously exposed. Sure, they have not printed my name but Gotland is a small place and everyone knows everyone so it’s not hard to figure out who it’s all about.
But Bernt is neither right-wing or even politically active. His fate is time-consuming in many ways. He is a native gown and has lived all his life on the island. Prior to public care, he worked to build mobile base stations at a factory previously owned by Ericsson. The factory was acquired by Flextronics, which eventually moved production to Hungary and in 2003 closed the business in Visby. Bernt was dismissed.
That’s when he and his wife decided to go for a three-year education at Umeå University to become dental hygienists.
“It would be a reboot for us,” says Bernt.
And then they got a job pretty quickly after finishing education, at the same public health service in Visby.
“It’s quite run for me”
“Job is the most important thing. Everything revolves around it. If you have no job, you have no money, no spare time.
Therefore, he decided to take the fight to get his job back. Bernt’s trade unions refused to help him because he accidentally left the trade unions a couple of months before this happened. This means that he had to pay for legal aid from his own pocket. However, the frustration and upset of the unfair treatment he considers to have been subjected to the region of Gotland was so great that he took it up.
“I am 57 years old and that means that it is quite run on the labor market for me. Region Gotland is a big employer in my industry on the island and no new employment with them is excluded. There are some private options but their interest always ended after the question “Why did you end up at the Region Gotland?”.
Bernt tried to find a job on the mainland. He managed to get a temporary contact in Kalmar County where he commuted with the ferry from the island for three-day shift. In the long run, however, it did not work. At the same time, his wife, who worked in the same workplace, had to go down to half-time and then resign completely.
“She suffered from health problems because of this whole sad situation. It became impossible to proceed simply. It also did not help some colleagues start looking at her, explains Bernt.
In other words, no one had a couple of jobs when a verdict came from Gotland’s district court after nearly a year’s long trial. The District Court’s assessment was that there was no reason for dismissal. On the other hand, the employer had the right to terminate Bernt. In the verdict, the district court maintains that a breach of patient secrecy had occurred – but stressed at the same time that it has not been found that the victims suffered injury because of it and that there may be some exceptions to confidentiality.
Region Gotland would pay a small compensation to Bernt – 35 thousand kronor – plus a salary for five months. The parties would bear their own costs, which means that it was still a plus store for the Herlitz family.
– Sure, I did not get my job back and it was boring. But on the other hand, it could be even worse.
Region Gotland is hit back
Then came the next shock: Region Gotland appealed the verdict to the next instance – Labor Court in Stockholm.
– This means that if we lose there, we will pay the full costs for both parties – and it may amount to 1-1.5 million.
According to Bernt, Region Gotland employed one of the best and most expensive lawyers in labor law in Sweden.
“He always wins such goals,” said Bernt. He also tells the star prosecutor to be reported to the Labor Court on several occasions.
Bernt’s legal representative estimates that the total costs will be at least 700 thousand kronor – and “upwards”. Only in the first instance, the region of Gotland’s lawyer charged 450 thousand kronor.
The lawyer’s website states that the man is “ranked among 1 in labor law in Sweden by Chambers Europe and ranked as the leading individual of Legal 500”. When Samfällsnytt contacts him on the phone, he confirms the assignment of disqualifications. However, the man does not want to say what circumstances were included in the notifications and refer to confidentiality.
What happens if you lose and are forced to pay costs?
– It will be a death sentence for us, for the whole family – even for my five-year-old daughter. We do not have one million kronor, we are unemployed now. You will pay it within 30 days of the judgment otherwise, the Kronofogden will come. They will take our apartment, our car, all the furniture … We will be barred.
“I also think it’s all so immoral. They have unlimited resources, with our tax money. And they choose to spit on those resources to crush me and my life.
Have you tried to contact other media?
– Yes, I wrote to SVT but never received an answer.
But a television team actually followed the trial: SVT’s program The court was in place to report on the star prosecutor’s work. According to Bernt, they were unaware of his history.
“I’m afraid of this society”
Several sources pointed out the Director of Health at Regional Gotland, Maria Dalemar, as the head of the decision to dismiss Bernt and pursue a legal process against him. When Samfällsnytt contacts her on the telephone, she explains the decision to proceed to the Labor Court with the intention that it should just be a dismissal as a result of the breach of confidentiality which Bernt should have owed and not termination – as the Gotland District Court considered – and that “it is important to judge this legally “.
– There is a difference between divorce and termination and it is with seriousness in the confidentiality to do.
But do you understand what personal consequences it will have for Bernt and his family?
“I have no comments on that,” answers Dalemar and puts on the handset.
According to Region Gotland’s wage administration, Dalemar receives a salary of 105 thousand kronor per month. Previously, she was acclaimed by Sveriges Radio when it was found that she is not registered in Gotland, but in another municipality. What did not appear in the SR’s report is that the tax rate for municipal tax was approximately 1.3% lower in the municipality of Lidköping, where Dalemar was registered at the moment. This allowed her to further maximize her income and pay a lower income tax.
Samfällsnytt has also contacted Bernt’s former CEO Mats Kvarnberg, who has finished Folktandvården.
“It’s all extremely tragic and regrettable,” he said on the phone.
Do you mean that Region Gotland should have acted differently?
– No, I can not comment on that question. But I mean that if Bernt had told me before sending them the emails we could have avoided this.
Should he blame himself?
” No one else can be charged for it.
When I ask Bernt about his view of society has changed during this trip, he silences for a while. When he starts talking again, I can barely hear him:
“Before all, we lived a safe life. I counted on being protected, that there are community institutions that can help me if I get unfairly treated. But nobody wanted to help me, nobody … I’m afraid of this society.