Age discrimination in the labour market in Poland – A socio-legal perspective

  • Justyna Stypińska
Keywords: age discrimination, law, older workers, Poland, legal awareness


Sufficient scientific evidence exists, along with everyday experience, to support the conclusion that age is of substantial importance in modern labour markets. Several empirical studies have confirmed that older age can be an obstacle to finding a job. Among the solutions to the problem of the unequal treatment of workers based on age, many authors point to anti-discrimination legislation as the primary framework to effectively address the issue.  However, despite the availability of such measures, their de facto application remains questionable. Taking the existing legal solutions as a point of reference for the analysis of age discrimination in employment, this article attempts to answer the following research questions: what is the efficiency of implementation of the European anti-discrimination legislation in Poland from a sociological perspective? How is the prohibition of age discrimination encompassed and interpreted in the current law and policy measures in Poland? The paper also addresses issues related to different types of age discrimination practices which are predominant in Poland. Lastly, the paper concentrates on the question of the level of awareness regarding the anti-discrimination legislation among older workers and the possibility of putting the law into practice. The empirical analysis is based primarily on quantitative data gathered in a telephone survey in the Małopolska region in Poland in 2010.