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MAGNUSSON ATTORNEY’S SUCCESS IN A PRO BONO LABOUR LAW CASE

2017-01-13

Magnusson’s Warsaw-based attorney Marzanna Sobaniec represented, on a pro bono basis, a religious education teacher and a client of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights – in a dispute with the client’s employer concerning termination of employment during pregnancy.

As a result of Marzanna’ involvement, the Regional Court in Kraków ruled in its final judgement that depriving pregnant women-catechists of protection from dismissal during pregnancy finds no justification in Polish legal system.

The client was dismissed from school after the local diocese bishop withdrew his written registered referral for her to teach religious education. In the first instance, the District Court ruled that appointed catechists are not covered by the protection granted to pregnant women by the provisions of the Polish Labour Code.

Following appeal, the District Court expressed a different view. At the same time, due to the fact that Sylwia Z. failed to fulfil her formal obligations by not applying for an extension of her referral to teach religious education, the court deemed the termination of employment due to the employee’s fault legal. Nevertheless, even if the final ruling has not come favourable for the client, the decision made by the court of second instance will be instrumental for all female employees potentially finding themselves in a similar situation in the future.

The case received wide media coverage, including in a leading Polish television broadcaster and the daily press.

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