What is the rule of equal treatment?

On August 2, 2011, in Discrimination, by Kalina Jaroslawska


Polish labour legislation provides for the obligation to treat all employees equally with respect to conclusion and termination of employment, employment conditions, promotion and access to professional training, irrespective of:

  • sex;
  • age;
  • disability;
  • race;
  • religion;
  • nationality;
  • political views;
  • trade union membership;
  • ethnic background;
  • religious creed;
  • sexual orientation;
  • full-time or part-time employment;
  • employment for indefinite or fixed time.

In short, this is a general anti-discrimination clause, which is as a result of adjusting Polish labour legislation to the EU standards before the EU accession in 2004.

If the employer differentiates situations of particular employees based on one or several reasons listed above, then they will be considered to violate the anti-discrimination clause, unless they are in a position to demonstrate that such differentiation is justified by genuine occupation requirements. Examples of such genuine occupation requirements would include:

  • experience and length of employment affecting the conditions of employment, salary or promotion;
  • grounds related to parenthood protection or disability reasons;
  • changes in working time arrangements if justified by reasons unrelated to employees.

Remedies available to discriminated employees are not overwhelming: they may claim damages no lower than minimal wages (there is no upper limit) and they are guaranteed protection from dismissal once the claim has been brought. The claim may also be made after the employment relationship has come to an end, no matter whose initiative that was. Damages must be effective, proportionate and preventive.

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