Implementation issues

AuthorBojarski, Lukasz
8.1 Dissemination of information, dialogue with NGOs and between social
a) Dissemination of information about legal protection against discrimination (Article
All legislative acts issued in Poland are published in an official journal, which fulfils the
requirement of publicly announcing legal norms and enabling public awareness of what
the law says. Usually, however, publication in an official journal does not mean much to
the general public. Nevertheless, it should be noted that awareness of equal treatment
and the need to safeguard non-discrimination is slowly but surely increasing in Poland,
although it cannot yet be deemed satisfactory.
Because of this, the Ombud decided to focus its research on under-reported issues and
find out why victims of discrimination do not report it.404 According to annual studies
commissioned by the Ombud, 70 % to 90 % of people who believed that they had
experienced discrimination in the given year have not reported this to any public
institution (the figure was 73 % in 2018).405 Moreover, the vast majority of people are
unaware that discrimination is prohibited in areas such as employment and the labour
market or in access to goods and services.
According to the Ombud, the reasons for this are manifold and include a low level of legal
awareness; a lack of understanding of the notion of discrimination; a lack of trust in
public bodies and institutions; a fear of retaliation as a result of reporting discrimination;
a reluctance to disclose intimate information about one’s life; as well as a lack of faith in
the effectiveness of an intervention. For these reasons, the Ombud has appealed to the
state authorities to exercise special sensitivity, and in particular to take proactive
measures to counter and combat discrimination, even without specific victims taking the
initiative.406 In addition, due to both global and national developments, worrying social
processes have developed, such as an increase in hate speech and hate crime against
ethnic and religious minorities, as well as an increase in antisemitism, and rising levels of
homophobia and even physical attacks on the offices of LGBT organisations.
From the legal point of view, the most important instrument for the effective
dissemination of information re lated to the issues of discrimination in employment is
Article 94(1) of the Labour Code. It imposes on all employers an obligation to enable
employees to access, in the workplace, the legal provisions concerning equal treatment
in employment. In this way, it directly implements the option included in Article 12 of the
Employment Equality Directive. The Labour Code recommends that the employer should
meet this requirement by disseminating information in written form. The employer is,
however, free to choose other options and grant access to the information ‘by another
means accepted by a particular employer’.
The options chosen to put this provision into operation may vary among different
employers it can take the form of printed leaflets or brochures distributed in the
workplace, or printed information given to the employee, who may be required to provide
their signature as proof that they have taken note of it.407 Such information can also be
attached to labour contracts or workplace codes of conduct. The National Labour
Inspectorate is responsible for the implementation of Article 94(1).
404 Ombud, annual report for 2013, p. 10.
405 Ombud, research commissioned from Kantar Public on legal awareness in the context of equal treatment,
October 2018.
406 Ombud, annual report for 2016, pp. 114, 70, 156.
407 See, for example, Potocka, P. (2004), Model information on equal treatment in employment, Gdask
(published by a private centre for consultancy and vocational training).

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