Principle of equal treatment in employment

< Wróć

Principle of equal treatment in employment

One of the basic rules of employee management is the principle of equal treatment. It means that workers must have equal rights based on the scope of duties – particularly in terms of gender. This rule results directly from the Labour Code. Following the principle of equal treatment, workers should be treated the same way in:

  • hiring
  • employment conditions
  • promotions
  • access to professional training
  • discharge and layoffs

There is no closed catalogue of reasons for discrimination. It means that each case should be considered separately. The Labour Code mentions, for example:

  • gender
  • age
  • disability
  • race
  • religious beliefs
  • nationality
  • political beliefs
  • Union membership
  • ethnicity
  • sexual orientation
  • definite or indefinite employment period
  • full or part-time work

Some examples of a violation of the principle of equal treatment are:

  • refusal to hire somebody
  • omitting somebody by professional training, unless the employer proves it was due to objective reasons.
  • disadvantageous conditions of remuneration or other employment conditions, or no promotion or not being granted other work-related benefits
  • a layoff, unless the employer proves it was due to objective reasons.

Discrimination and unequal treatment are not the same. Discrimination is a form of unequal treatment based on prejudice against particular groups, e.g. women, the elderly or young, migrants, etc. Unequal treatment is not necessarily linked to a specific protected characteristic.

The consequences of breaching the principle of equal treatment and the prohibition of discrimination are different. The first case may justify the employer’s liability for damages under the general principles of contractual liability.

In the event of discrimination, the Labour Code provides compensation above or equal to the minimum remuneration. In the case of contractual liability, there is no fixed lower limit of reparations.

In both cases, there is no upper limit to the amount of compensation. The court decides how much damage the employee gets, taking into account the conduct of the employer or its employee and the violation degree. The EU Directive on equal treatment in employment and occupation guidelines indicates that the employer must impose effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions on the perpetrator.