Act of 26 June 1974 – the Labour Code (Journal of Laws 1974 No. 24, item 141)
Article 112 – Employees have equal rights in respect of the same performance of the same duties; this applies in particular to the equal treatment of men and women in employment.
Article 113 – Any discrimination in employment, direct or indirect, in particular in respect of gender, age, disability, race, religion, nationality, political views, trade union membership, ethnic origin, creed, sexual orientation or in respect of the conditions of employment for a definite or an indefinite period of time or full or part time, is prohibited.
Article 183a § 1 – Employees should be treated equally in relation to establishing and terminating an employment relationship, employment conditions, promotion conditions, as well as access to training in order to improve professional qualifications, in particular regardless of sex, age, disability, race, religion, nationality, political beliefs, trade union membership, ethnic origin, creed, sexual orientation, as well as regardless of employment for a definite or indefinite period of time or full time or part time employment.
Article 183a § 2 – Equal treatment in employment means that there must be no discrimination whatsoever, directly or indirectly, on the grounds referred to in § 1.
Article 183a § 3 – Direct discrimination is taken to occur where one employee, on one or more grounds referred to in § 1, has been, is or would be treated in a comparable situation less favourably than other employees.
Article 183a § 4 – Indirect discrimination is taken to occur where an apparently neutral provision, criterion or practice places or would place all or a considerable number of employees belonging to a particular group on the grounds of one or more reasons referred to in § 1 at a disproportionate disadvantage, or at a particular disadvantage in relation to the establishment and termination of an employment relationship, employment conditions, promotion conditions, as well as access to training in order to improve professional qualifications, unless that provision, criterion or practice is objectively justified by a legitimate aim to be achieved, and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary.
Article 183a § 5 – Discrimination within the meaning of § 2 is also taken to include:
1) practices related to encouraging another person to violate the principle of equal treatment in employment or ordering another person to violate that principle,
2) unwanted conduct with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of an employee and of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive atmosphere (harassment).
Article 183a § 6 – Discrimination on the grounds of sex also includes any form of unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, or in relation to the sex of an employee with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of an employee, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive atmosphere; this conduct may include physical, verbal or non-verbal elements (sexual harassment).
Article 183a § 7 – The submission of an employee to harassment or sexual harassment, as well as his conduct in order to reject harassment or sexual harassment, cannot inflict any negative consequences toward the employee.
Article 183b § 1 – The violation of the principle of equal treatment in employment, subject to § 2-4, means an employer treating an employee differently on one or more grounds referred to in Article 183a § 1 with the effect of, in particular:
1) terminating or rejecting the establishment of an employment relationship,
2) establishing disadvantageous conditions of remuneration for work or other employment, or not being selected for promotion or not being granted other work-related benefits,
3) not being chosen to participate in training organised to improve professional qualifications – unless the employer proves that this was due to objective reasons.
Article 183b § 2 – The principle of equal treatment in employment is not violated by conduct aimed at legitimately differentiating the situation of an employee that includes:
1) not employing an employee on one or more grounds referred to in Article 183a § 1 where the type of work or the conditions of its performance mean that the characteristic or the characteristics referred to in that provision constitute a genuine and determining occupational requirement for the employee;
2) serving a notice of termination of employment conditions to an employee in relation to the length of working time, provided it is justified for reasons not concerning employees and without referring to other grounds listed in Article 183a § 1;
3) applying means that differentiate the legal situation of an employee in respect of the protection of parenthood or disability;
4) applying the criterion of the employment period in establishing employment and dismissal conditions, remuneration and promotion principles, as well as access conditions to training to improve professional qualifications which justifies a different treatment of employees in respect of age.
Article 183b § 3 – The principle of equal treatment in employment is not violated by conduct undertaken for a certain period of time, aimed at creating equal opportunities for all or a considerable number of employees distinguished by one or more grounds referred to in Article 183a § 1, by reducing the actual inequalities for an advantage of such employees to the extent determined in that provision.
Article 183b § 4 – The principle of equal treatment is not violated where churches and other religious societies, as well as organisations the ethics of which is based on religion, creed or world-view deter access to employment on the grounds of religion, creed or world-view provided the type or characteristics of the activity conducted by the churches and other religious societies, as well as organisations causes that the religion, creed or world-view are a real and decisive occupational requirement for the employee, proportional to reaching a lawful aim of the differentiation of the situation of such a person; it also concerns the requirement for the employed to act in good faith and loyalty towards the ethics of the church, other religious society and organisation the ethics of which is based on religion, creed or world-view.
Article 183c § 1 – Employees have the right to equal remuneration for the same work or for work of an identical value.
Article 183c § 2 – The remuneration referred to in § 1 includes all components of remuneration, regardless of their name or characteristics, as well as other work-related benefits granted to employees in cash or non-cash form.
Article 183c § 3 – Work of an identical value means work that demands from employees not only comparable professional qualifications, certified by documents provided for in separate provisions or by practice and professional experience, but also comparable responsibility and effort.
Article 183d – A person against whom an employer has violated the principle of equal treatment in employment has the right to compensation of at least the amount of the minimum remuneration for work, determined in separate provisions.
Article 183e § 1 – The fact that an employee has exercised his rights due to a violation of the principle of equal treatment in employment may not constitute a reason for the disadvantageous treatment of the employee and may not result in any negative consequences toward the employee; in particular, it may not constitute grounds for the termination of an employment relationship by an employer, with or without notice.
Article 183e § 2 – The provision of § 1 applies accordingly in relation to an employee who has provided any support to an employee using his/her rights due in respect of violation of the principle of equal treatment in employment.
Article 94. The employer is obliged in particular to:
1) make employees starting work familiar with the scope of their duties, the manner of performing work on particular positions and their basic rights;
2) organise work in a manner ensuring the effective use of working time, as well as achieving high efficiency and appropriate quality of work through using the employees abilities and qualifications;
2a) organise work in a manner ensuring the reduction of strenuousness of work, in particular for monotonous work and work at a fixed pace;
2b) act against discrimination in employment, in particular in respect of sex, age, disability, race, religion, nationality, political belief, trade union membership, ethnic origin, creed, sexual orientation, as well as on grounds of employment for a definite or indefinite period of time, or in full or part-time (…)
Article 941 – The employer must provide employees with the contents of provisions concerning equal treatment in employment in the form of written information announced in the work establishment, or must ensure that employees have access to these provisions in other standard method used by the employer.
Article 943 § 1 – The employer is obliged to act against mobbing.
Article 943 § 2 – Mobbing includes acts or behaviour in relation to an employee or directed against an employee, with the effect of persistent and long-term harassment or intimidation of an employee, resulting in a decreased evaluation of his professional abilities, or which is aimed at or results in the humiliation or ridicule of the employee, or the isolation or elimination of the employee from the group of co-workers.
Article 943 § 3 – An employee for whom mobbing has caused health problems, may claim compensation from the employer as a money equivalent for the damage sustained.
Article 943 § 4 – An employee who terminates his/her employment contract as a result of mobbing has the right to claim compensation from the employer in an amount not lower than the minimum remuneration for work, as specified under separate provisions.
Article 943 § 5 – The employee’s statement on the termination of the employment contract must be made in writing, indicating the reason referred to in § 2 that justifies the termination of the contract.
The Labour Code is one of the most important legal acts in force in Poland which widely addresses the issues related to discrimination in employment.
The principle of equal treatment of employees and prohibition of discrimination on any ground are the basic guidelines to which the entire Polish labour law system is subordinated. A development of the principle of non-discrimination was included in Chapter IIa titled “Equal treatment in employment”. The Labour Code indicates the forms in which discrimination in employment may occur, at the same time creating own definitions of such concepts as: direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment. What is important, in the Labour Code, in Article 183a § 5 indent 1, it is also indicated that any practices related to encouraging another person to discrimination or ordering another person to discriminate are also an expression of discrimination – it can refer both to a direct message encouraging to discriminate another person and the so-called “tacit consent” from an individual/group/employer.
An important decision is the introduction of appropriate mechanism to the Labour Code, of which any person against whom an employer has violated the principle of equal treatment in employment can make use. In accordance with Article 183d of the Labour Code, such person has the right to compensation of at least the amount of the minimum remuneration for work, determined in separate provisions.