Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

Publishing firms

Legal Developments worldwide

Mother and daughter could work together

May 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Norrbom Vinding Law Firm, member of ius laboris.

More articles by this firm.

A hospital did not want to hire a midwife because her mother was already working as a midwife at the same hospital. That refusal was not justified, according to the Danish Ombudsman.

Public authorities must hire the best qualified candidate for the job. This requirement was repeated by the Ombudsman again. A hospital was therefore not justified in refusing a candidate whose mother was already on the hospital's payroll.

The complaint was from a midwife who had applied for a job at a hospital. But the application was refused because her mother was already working as a midwife at the same hospital. As the reason for refusing the application the hospital gave its preference for not employing close relatives. And also, as the ward was relatively small, it would make duty rostering more difficult as the hospital felt that such close relatives could not work the same shifts.

The daughter was not happy about the refusal and her union lodged a complaint to the Ombudsman on her behalf. The union argued that with 80 midwives at the hospital, mother and daughter would work the same shifts only very rarely. And neither of them would be the other's superior.

Siding with the union, the Ombudsman found that the hospital had failed to evaluate the daughter's professional qualifications and refused her simply because her mother worked there. The Ombudsman pointed out that public authorities are not allowed to decide against a candidate on grounds of family alone. As there was no basis for the assumption that the close family ties would cause problems, the refusal was not justified. In addition, the Ombudsman noted, the daughter should have been given opportunity to comment on the fact that their family ties had been a factor in the decision.

Norrbom Vinding notes:  

  • that public authorities must hire the best qualified candidate for the job. The Ombudsman's opinion shows that a candidate must not be rejected for family-related reasons alone unless there is specific reason to believe that the family ties may create serious problems at work.

For more information please visit www.norrbomvinding.com