The state’s duty to protect human rights
1. Regulations relating to business and human rights under Polish law
Employment and occupation equality [pages 11-12]
According to Article 943 of the LC, the employer is obligated to take action against workplace mobbing, which includes acts or behaviour towards an employee or directed against an employee involving persistent and long-lasting harassment or bulling of an employee causing specific negative consequences. An employee who was harassed at work and developed health problems may claim an appropriate amount of money from the employer as a pecuniary compensation for the damage sustained.
Workplace bullying at one’s place of work or in connection with one’s work means a systematic repetition of certain behaviour directed at an employee that results in, e.g., the elimination of such an employee from the group. Particularly important in this case is the health aspect, which distinguishes the phenomenon of workplace bullying from an ordinary conflict.
Prevention of economic exploitation of children [page 12]
Article 3045 of the LC provides that work or other paid jobs may only be performed by a child under the age of 16 for the benefit of an entity conducting cultural, artistic, sporting, or advertising activity, and only with the prior consent of the child’s statutory representative or guardian, as well as permission from the relevant labour inspector. The relevant labour inspector must refuse permission if the performance of the work will endanger the life, health, or psychophysical development of the child or if it constitutes a threat to the child’s performance of his or her school duties.
Occupational safety and health[pages 14-15]
Article 7 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights calls on the States Parties to the Covenant to recognise the right of everyone to enjoy of just and favourable conditions of work, including safe and healthy working conditions, as well as rest, leisure, and reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic paid holidays, as well as remuneration for public holidays.
The provisions for ensuring safe and hygienic working conditions by employers are set out in Division 10 of the Labour Code, “Health and Safety at Work”, as well as in other generally applicable laws. In accordance with the provisions of the Labour Code, employers are obliged to protect the health and life of their employees by providing them with health and safety conditions at work that appropriately use science and technology achievements. Employers are also obligated to organise work in a manner that ensures the above-mentioned conditions. In addition, Division 10 of the Labour Code specifies the rights and obligations of employees with respect to health and safety at work, the basic health and safety requirements for buildings and working premises, as well as machines and other technical equipment, requirements regarding factors and processes of work that create particular threats to health or life, obligations providing employees with preventive health protection, employers’ obligations related to accidents at work and occupational diseases, obligations to provide health and safety training, obligations to provide employees with measures of individual protection and work clothes and shoes, requirements to establish a health and safety at work service, requirements to provide consultations on health and safety at work and a commission on health and safety at work.
In addition to the provisions of Division 10, the Labour Code also contains other provisions for the protection of the lives and health of women and young people who are employees, included in Division 8, “The Rights of Employees in Relation to Parenthood”, and Division 9, “Employment of Young People”. The provision of safe and hygienic work conditions for employees is also ensured by regulations of other laws, including the Construction Law, the Atomic Law, and the Geological and Mining Law.
The state’s activities as regards supervision and inspection of work conditions (in accordance with the requirements of international law) are important for ensuring health and safety at work. The system of measures that implement this policy is based, in particular, on the powers of the National Labour Inspectorate (reporting to the Sejm of the Republic of Poland) to supervise the observance of labour law, including health and safety at work, and the State Sanitary Inspection (reporting to the Minister of Health) to supervise compliance with work hygiene regulations. According to Article 304 of the LC, employers are obligated to ensure health and safety working conditions not only for their employees, but also for individuals performing work on a basis other than an employment contract at a work establishment or in a place designated by the employer, as well as for anyone conducting their own business activity at a work establishment or in a place designated by the employer. Obligations related to health and safety at work are applicable to non-employers who organise work performed by individuals on a non-employment basis and self-employed individuals. According to Article 3041 of the LC, the basic duties of employees (referred to in Article 211 of the LC) within the scope determined by an employer or another entity organising work will also be imposed on individuals who perform work on a different basis than an employment contract at a work establishment or in a place designated by the employer or other entity organising work, as well as on anyone conducting their own business activity at their work establishment or in a place designated by the employer or another entity organising work.
4. Investment strategy and an ideal investor’s profile [page 32]
The ideal investor should engage in broad employee care activities (e.g., by offering additional healthcare programmes or the ability to use in-company preschools and crèches). This contributes greatly to building responsible entrepreneurship and to recognising the role of entrepreneurs as actors of particular importance in the process of building civil society.