Certificate for a fake doctor

The smallish Finnish town of Karkkila recently found out that they had a fake doctor. A young man had worked as a physician, although he lacked proper qualifications and training. He had forged his papers to get the job. He had succeeded to conceal his lack of training simply by forwarding any non-trivial cases to more experienced doctors; he also had become popular among patients simply by being sympathetic and listening. Now, there may be a lesson to learn from this, but that is aside the point.

When the case was found out, the fake doctor was naturally fired. However, there is a rather funny twist to the episode: according to Finnish employment law, an employee is entitled to a work certificate from the employee. This paper has to be given in writing, and by law, it must not contain any negative remarks about the performance of the employee.

Now the fake doctor wants his certificate (news in Finnish).

What is the local hospital going to do? Apparently, they have no options. They're asking for guidance from employment authorities, but by law, the fake doctor is absolutely right: he's been employed, so he is perfectly entitled to an employment certificate, and it is definitely not possible for the hospital managers to imply in the certificate that there was anything wrong with this employment. Of course, any health-related employer in Finland will likely have heard and will also remember this case, because it is rather unique, but if the untrained physician e.g. applies for a position in another country, how are they to know, if they are presented with a genuine, official employment certificate from a Finnish clinic, and an official, sworn translation?

This is one of the funnier although by no means most absurd outcomes of the Finnish employment law.

In another case some 20 years back, an employer faced repeated jail sentences to infinity - which you don't get even for premeditated murder - as he refused to issue an employment certificate to a person who had not actually performed work (because this person was on strike most of the employment). The case was eventually settled, somehow.


Update: Just realized that the fake doctor may not be aspiring to become a brain surgeon in some Third World country. He needs the paper to apply for the earned-income-based unemployment benefit now that the bureaucracy has forced him to go on the dole. There's no doubt he's entitled to the money, as he's paid his dues when employed.

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