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Anti-Discrimination Laws in Poland

1. Brief Description of Anti-Discrimination Laws

An employer shall respect the dignity and other personal rights of an employee and employees have equal rights for equal performance of the same duties. This principle in particular is applied to the equal treatment of men and women at work. It is not permissible to discriminate an employee, either directly or indirectly, especially on the grounds of a person’s sex, age, disability, race, religion, nationality, political beliefs, trade union membership, ethnic origin, denomination, sexual orientation, as well as employment for a definite or indefinite term or on a full-time or part-time basis.

2. Extent of Protection

Equal treatment in employment is defined as prohibition of any discrimination, direct or indirect, on the grounds referred hereinbefore. It is an employer’s obligation to prevent discrimination in employment. Breaching of this obligation is a justified reason for termination of the employment contract without notice by employee. Any person who experiences lack of equal treatment by an employer has the right to compensation equal at least to the amount of the statutory minimum wage, as defined in separate regulations.

3. Protections Against Harassment

Any unwanted conduct with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of an employee and of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment is treated as harassment, and sexual harassment is defined as any form of unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, or referring to a person’s sex, with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment, including verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct.

A harassed employee has additional rights if his/her health has deteriorated as a result of harassment at work, and may claim financial compensation from the employer for the damage suffered, in particular if he/her terminated the employment contract as a result of the harassment incident.

4. Employer’s Obligation to Provide Reasonable Accommodations

It is an employer’s obligation to provide a workplace adequately adapted for disabled persons. The employer must take into account the limited motor abilities of disabled workers. This includes the need for adaptation to a reduced operability of the communication routes within the building, stairs (elevator) doors, windows, bathrooms, etc.

Disabled persons have additional rights, as their working time may be shortened, leave may be extended and additional breaks at work may be granted. However their rights depend on the level of disability adjudicated by respective authority. Nightshifts and overtimes are strictly forbidden.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Poland, please contact A. Sobczyk & Wspólpracownicy
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