If you feel discriminated against, go to the police, the court or the prosecution. Prosecution organs are obliged to take your case ex officio and start an appropriate procedure. If you were yet refused to start proceedings or it was dismissed (by the formal decision in writing), you may bring a court action in person, i. e. by private prosecution.
If you want to start a criminal trial, you have to provide a notification on suspicion of committing a crime (defined in the Penal Code) to the public prosecutor. Notifying the prosecutor on suspicion of committing a crime is free of charge. You should describe the circumstances in which the crime was committed. You will be called to the prosecutor then in order to hold a preliminary hearing. Next, the decision will be made whether to start or dismiss the proceedings.
If you have been discriminated against at the place of your employment, you have the right to file a lawsuit in the Labour Court – the district court or regional court under jurisdiction of which is the place of employment or the employer’s premises. If the claimed compensation is more than 75 000 PLN, the lawsuit must be filed in the regional court.
If you happen not to file a lawsuit in a relevant court, your document will be sent to the relevant one and you will be notified of this fact.
Filing a lawsuit against discrimination in employment is free of charge.
Remember, you may try to be appointed by the court a plenipotentiary (an advocate or a legal advisor) who will represent you in court. It is free of charge.
You must make three copies of the lawsuit (keep one of the copies). Copy attachments if there are any (e.g. a work contract). The lawsuit may be handwritten. It may be filed in person in the court (Registry Office) or sent by post as a registered letter (keep the receipt).
You should know that the general rule under Polish civil law is that a party claiming the existence of a certain fact has to present evidence supporting his/ her claims. Yet with regard to the fact that it is extremely difficult for the employee or a person applying for a job to prove having become a victim of discrimination, in such cases the burden of proof (of non-existence of discrimination) is shifted to the employer.
The shift of the burden of proof to the employer makes it easier for a victim of discrimination, who may not have any proof (as the employee doesn’t have access to the employer’s database), to act despite his/ her weaker position.
Moreover, labour law conflicts can be examined by conciliation commissions on the basis of a settlement of the sides.
Pursuant to the Civil Code, compensation for the harm resulting from an illegal, discriminatory act may be claimed in cases concerning the infringement on personal interests.
This proceeding is not free of charge. In this case the petitioner has to pay a court fee while filing a lawsuit (the sum depends on the claimed damages). However, if the petitioner puts forward a motion that he/ she is not able to pay the court costs, he/ she may be exempt from these costs. Special forms can be found in courts.
In addition, a person exempt, partly or totally, from the court costs may be appointed an advocate ex officio if the court states it is necessary.
What should you write in a lawsuit?
- define the court in which you file a lawsuit;
- give your name and surname, and your address (define the plaintiff);
- define the defendant (who committed the discrimination crime);
- entitle your document “Lawsuit”;
- define the amount of money you claim as damages;
- describe the circumstances justifying your claims (write in a consice and factual manner about what has happened and what the discrimination action consisted of) and, if possible, present evidence that prove your claims;
- if necessary, put forward a motion for exemption from court costs and/ or appointing a counsel ex officio;
- if necessary, list enclosed annexes;
- sign it!