When can an employee terminate an employment contract immediately?

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You can quit the job immediately, without notice, when the employer has committed a grave breach of fundamental duties towards the employee.

The employer can’t block you from quitting the job immediately if you state gross misconduct as a reason for termination. Your statement takes effect as soon as it is delivered to the employer. Even if the employer does not want to acknowledge your resignation (and sign it), this will not change the result.

The employer may claim compensation in court if they disagree. It might help you in the procedure if you hand in a written termination of employment document.

What are the lawful reasons to quit the job without notice?

  • you experience bullying, discrimination, unequal treatment, harassment, sexual harassment or violation of your personal rights at work;
  •  the employer didn’t declare you for social insurance or failed to pay contributions (składki);
  •  you didn’t get your payment, or it wasn’t on time, or you didn’t get the whole due salary, just a part of it
  •  working conditions are not safe, or the employer fails to comply with occupational health and safety rules
  •  the employer makes you work without enough rest (on daily and weekly bases) and doesn’t let you take your due annual leave;
  •  there was an accident, and the employer didn’t conduct correct post-accident proceedings (concerning an accident at work or on the way to or from work).

Generally, you should submit the termination of the employment in writing, stating the reason justifying the termination. The immediate termination for gross misconduct can be declared orally. However, in a possible court case, you will bear the burden of proof if you terminate the contract orally.

What can you demand from the employer?

You can demand compensation in the amount of the salary for the notice period.

The employer must issue you an employment certificate, even if they don’t agree with your decision or reasons for it. The employment certificate should indicate that the employment contract was terminated following Article 55 of the Labour Code.

How might an employer behave?

If the employer doesn’t accept your reasons, they can sue you in the labour court. The employer can demand compensation equal to your salary for the notice period.

However, the employer will need to prove that your action was unjustified, thus undermining the reason stated in your termination statement.

Legal basis: Article 55 §11 of the Labour Code

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