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Assertion of employee rightsPrint

Where can one assert one's rights as an employee?

In the case of violations of labour rights (more information on employee rights is available here ->) - rights incumbent on a person who has signed a contract of employment (more information on employment contracts is available here ->), the employee may file a complaint with the National Labour Inspectorate (PIP) and / or a labour court.

On principle, the employee (the complainant) does not bear the cost of proceedings for complaints filed to these institutions.

Attention: In case of civil law contracts, an employee is only able to assert his rights in civil actions. In these cases, however, the pursuit of claims is associated with court costs borne by the complainant. More information on civil contracts is available here ->

The National Labour Inspectorate (PIP) is an institution that - apart from controlling  legality of employment – provides supervision and controls compliance with labour legislation (Labour Code). PIP inspects employers - more information about control of legality of employment is available here ->

The Labour Court is a separate division of the common courts, established to hear disputes arising out of employment relationships (Labour Code).

How to assert your rights?

National Labour Inspectorate

A complaint to the National Labour Inspectorate is filed with the Regional Labour Inspectorate in writing - it can be sent by post or e-mail, or delivered in person. Addresses of Regional Labour Inspectorates are available here ->

There is no obligation to submit the complaint using a particular form. The following information must always be included in the complaint: 

  • against whom the complaint is filed (company name / name and surname, address of the seat / place of residence);
  • description of the irregularities that are the subject of the claim (complaint) 

Attention: It is useful to collect evidence verifying the statements of the complainant (e.g. documents which the employee received from the employer, e-mails concerning the events described, consent of witnesses to confirm the complainant’s words in court). These will be useful to prove the existence of irregularities that are being reported. 

  • name, surname and address of the complainant. 

Attention: as a rule anonymous complains are not considered by PIP. If the employee does not want the employer to know who has filed the complaint, the employee can reserve the right to remain anonymous (the employee's personal data will not be given out to the employer  nor appear in the inspection records). 

In response to the complaint, a labour inspector carries out control activities at the employer. An inspection typically takes place within 1 month of receipt of the complaint.

The labour inspector is required to examine all the facts described by the complainant in the complaint.

The control is carried out at the expense of the State Treasury.

If irregularities are found, the inspector serves a notification to the employer. A notification is a document demanding the employer removes/corrects the irregularities (ex. the inspector issues a decision on remuneration in which the inspector demands the employer pays the employee all outstanding wages). The employer is obliged to implement the notification provisions.

The Labour Inspectorate sends the result of the control to the address provided by the complainant in the complaint files. 

An employer may appeal against the decision of the labour inspector to the voivodship administrative court.


Labour Court

An employee may also assert a claim resulting from an employment relationship in court.

The deadline for submission of an action is dependent on the nature of the case. If it is an appeal against termination of employment, the employee has to file the suit within 7 days; in the case of disciplinary dismissal, within 14 days. In most other cases the claim should be filed before the expiry of the limitation period, i.e. within three years.

Suits must be filed at the district court, in the labour court division competent for the company's seat / place of residence of the employer. If the value of the object of the dispute exceeds 75,000 PLN, the complaint must be filed at the regional court.

The suit must be filed in writing. An employee can draw up a lawsuit by himself, and in case of deficiencies the court will summon the employee to provide the necessary information. A suit may also be filed by the public prosecutor or a trade union. If the case concerns ascertainment of the existence of an employment relationship, a labour inspector may also bring the suit to court.

An employee may defend him/herself before the court on his own, but may also appoint an attorney – however, there is no requirement for the representative to be an advocate or solicitor. If the Labour Inspectorate has previously completed an inspection in the relevant case, the court may request the transfer of records from this control.

The employee and the employer may reach an amicable agreement at each stage of the proceedings. If this occurs, the agreement will be vested with the force of a court judgment.

If the employee's demands do not exceed 50,000 PLN, he is not required to bear the costs of the filing. If this sum is higher, the employee must pay 5% of the amount in litigation (value of the claim). It should be kept in mind, though, that if the employee loses the suit, he may be charged for the opinions of experts and costs of representation incurred by the employer.

The judgment of the court of first instance may be appealed against. The appeal must be lodged within 2 weeks of the announcement judgment of the court or receipt of the judgment with its justification. To obtain justification of the verdict, an application to the court must be submitted. The appeal should be brought to the court where the case was considered previously.