Discrimination is the unequal treatment of certain groups of people or one person on the basis of origin, nationality, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, worldview or political beliefs, or because of some other discriminatory criterion. It is based on a subjective aversion to a specific person or group of people, reluctance based on a discriminatory criterion, i.e. due to a feature of that person or group of people, e.g. gender, religion, nationality, etc.
Polish law prohibits discrimination on any grounds. According to the Polish constitution, everyone is equal before the law and no one may be discriminated against in political, social or economic life for any reason.
DISCRIMINATION AT WORK
In Poland, discrimination in the workplace is prohibited, both in terms of employment and termination of the employment contract, employment conditions (e.g. salary), promotion, and access to vocational training in order to improve qualifications. Employers may not treat anyone worse on the basis of gender, age, disability, race, religion, nationality, political beliefs, trade union membership, sexual orientation, and also because of employment for a fixed or indefinite period, or full-time or part-time. The catalogue of reasons for which discrimination is unacceptable, as indicated in the Labour Code, is open.
Discrimination on the basis of sex also includes behaviour of a sexual nature or behaviour related to the employee's gender, which violates their dignity, causes a sense of humiliation or humiliation. They are undesirable behaviours that the victim does not agree to by expressing their objection to such behaviour. This can be, for example, touching an employee or making humiliating comments about him.
Discrimination can also be experienced indirectly. This occurs when, as a result of an apparently neutral decision, a criterion or action taken, there are differences in the treatment of a certain group of employees due to origin, nationality, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, worldview or political beliefs. An example would be the establishment of promotion rules which, by definition, are impossible to meet.
Employees also have the right to equal remuneration for the same work or work of equal value.
Note: migrants working legally in Poland have the same rights at work as Polish employees. Therefore, they are entitled to a vacation, a specified working time (as a rule 8 hours a day, an average of 40 hours a week) or the employer's assurance of safe and hygienic working conditions.
Employees who have experienced discrimination are entitled to financial compensation in the amount not lower than the minimum wage applicable in Poland under separate regulations.
Discrimination can also manifest itself in such behaviours as threats, insults, beatings. They are crimes and the person who has experienced them should report to the police
What is mobbing?
Mobbing is a phenomenon that can take place at work. It is a long-term, repeated mistreatment of an employee, harassing them, scaring them, insulting them, ridiculing them.
Typical examples of mobbing are blackmailing with dismissal, unjustified criticism, public humiliation, assigning too many duties compared to other employees or not assigning any tasks to be performed, isolating an employee from a group of colleagues, exclusion from the team.
The persecutor - the mobber - can be both the employer and colleagues.
Note: mobbing is prohibited in Poland and the employer is obliged to prevent it.
How to deal with mobbing?
A common reason for mobbing is that persecutors feel unpunished because their victims remain silent.
People who are victims of mobbing at work should:
- - talk about it with as many people as possible;
- - talk about their situation with other employees, trade unions, family, a lawyer;
- - record the place and time of all incidents;
- - communicate with the persecutor in writing (e.g. by e-mail or by sending registered letters);
- - if there is a need for meeting the persecutor directly, this meeting should tbe accompanied by a witness;
- - report to trade unions or associations that help victims of mobbing (their addresses and telephone numbers can be found in the "Where to seek help" tab).
Where to seek help?
People who have experienced mobbing have the right to apply to the court for compensation, however, they must provide evidence of its occurrence. That is why it is so important to collect proofs earlier - record events, gather documents, inform other people about what is happening.
Before going to court, it is best to seek legal advice from a lawyer. There are several organizations in Poland that provide free legal services to victims of mobbing (their addresses and telephone numbers can be found in the "Where to seek help" tab).
The so-called hate speech is one of the manifestations of discrimination. It is insulting, inciting hatred towards a certain person or group of people due to their various characteristics, e.g. race, nationality, worldview, religion, sexual orientation.
In Poland, incitement to hatred on the grounds of race, nationality, ethnicity and religion is a violation of the law. It is also a crime to threaten, insult, slander a given person in public or expose them to loss of trust needed to hold a specific position or practice a profession.
CELEBRATIONS IN POLAND
In Poland, public holidays and some other celebrations are statutory holidays. Some Catholic holidays are legally established as public holidays and are also non-working days. Persons of other faiths whose religious holidays do not fall on non-working days may, at their own request, be granted leave from work. However, the employee must make up for such a day.
The employee should submit an application concerning the matter at least 7 days before the day of leave. The employer must notify the employee about the conditions of making up for the leave no later than 3 days before the leave.
If an employee would like to have a day off on a specific day each week, it is also possible to introduce an individual work schedule.
Usually, the salary for the month in which the employee was allowed to leave remains unchanged, because the day to be made up for is set in the same month.
WHERE TO FIND HELP IN CASE OF UNEQUAL TREATMENT
There are organizations in Poland that provide free legal assistance to people experiencing discrimination:
- - Polish Society of Anti-Discrimination Law; telephone number (22) 4981526, e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org, meeting a lawyer is possible by prior arrangement;
- - Women's Rights Centre Foundation: telephone number (22) 6222517; e-mail email@example.com;
- - Information Center for People with Disabilities: telephone number (22) 8318582 or (22) 8310139; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org;
- - Halina Nieć Legal Aid Center; telephone number (12) 6337223; e-mail email@example.com;
- - Women's Rights Center: you can make an appointment directly with a lawyer after prior arrangement by phone, telephone number (22) 6520117; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org;
You can also seek help from state institutions:
- - Ombudsman: Aleja Solidarności 77, 00- 090 Warsaw; Helpline: 800 676 676 e-mail: email@example.com;
- - Children's Ombudsman: Przemysłowa 30/32, 00- 450 Warsaw, telephone number (22) 5836600; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;
- - Government Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment: Nowogrodzka 1/3/5 00- 513 Warsaw; e-mail email@example.com;
- - Patient Rights Ombudsman at Młynarska 46, 01171 Warsaw, nationwide free helpline 800 190 590; e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org;
- - Government Plenipotentiary for Disabled People: Nowogrodzka 1/3/5 Warsaw, telephone number (22) 461 60 00; e-mail: email@example.com;
You can also take advantage of free psychological assistance:
- - Crisis Helpline: 116 123 (this phone is free of charge!) Daily 2 pm - 10 pm;
- - Women's Rights Centre - provides psychological advice to women who are victims of sexual crimes, who experience violence by their husband or partner, as well as women who experience mobbing. In order to make an appointment with a psychologist, make an appointment by phone in advance: telephone number (22) 6520117; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org;
- - Lambda Association: helpline for homosexual people and their relatives, telephone number: (22) 6285222;