A Swedish school, which sacked its headmaster for publishing half naked pictures of himself and joining sexually-themed groups on Facebook, has been told that it acted unjustly by a Swedish court.
Anders Karlsson will receive compensation in the form of a lump sum of SEK 100,000 (EUR 10,808) and SEK 38,000 (EUR 4,107) a month for the period between November 2009 and May 2011.
Karlsson, who was headmaster of the Norrlands Entreprenorsgymnasium independent school in Lulea, northeast Sweden, was sacked in 2009 when his employers got wind of his naughty social networking activities. Along with posting pictures of himself in sexually suggestive poses, Karlsson was a member of groups such as, ‘All sexy bikinis 4U’, ‘Sex maniacs like us’ and ‘Multiple orgasms’.
An emergency meeting was called by the school’s board after the revelations were published on the nyheter24.se news website. The principal was subsequently forced out due to a “lapse in judgement”.
“Karlsson’s views on what someone is allowed to do as a private individual differ from the opinion of the board,” the school’s CEO Majvor Muller said in a statement at the time. Muller admitted that Karlsson had not broken any laws, but argued that, “he is the students’ ambassador and a role model. There’s a moral and ethical limit when someone works with young people”.
Karlsson, however, told Aftonbladet at the time that he only did what “practically everyone on Facebook does”, adding that he does not feel there is any harm in talking openly about sex. “I think sex is a natural and joyous part of life and don’t see any reason to try to hide that,” he said in a report by local newspaper Norrlandska Socialdemokraten. “Unfortunately, it seems to be unacceptable for a principal to have a normal, healthy sex life.”
After a two-year legal battle, the Lulea District Court finally agreed on Thursday 23rd June that the head teacher was wrongfully dismissed as his internet activities were not aimed at damaging the reputation of the school and had taken place in his own time. The court also found that the school failed to investigate the matter properly, instead acting mainly on media reports.