Let our experience be your guide 


Let our experience be your guide 


Let our experience be your guide 


Let our experience be your guide 


Let our experience be your guide 


Let our experience be your guide 


Let our experience be your guide 

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Mobbing in legal proceedings

Successively discussed on our blog, the topics related to labour law concern many of its aspects, such as the amendment related to the introduction of remote working, the implementation of the work-life balance directive or discrimination at work. The following article is devoted to a detailed analysis of court cases on mobbing – based on the record of cases from 2011 to 2021, published by the Ministry of Justice.

What is mobbing?

The legal definition of mobbing can be found in Article 943 §2 of the Labour Code, which specifies that mobbing is actions or behaviour concerning an employee or directed against an employee that meet the following criteria:

  • consisting of persistent and prolonged harassment or intimidation of an employee;
  • causing him or her to be undervalued in terms of his or her professional usefulness;
  • causing or intended to cause humiliation or ridicule of the employee;
  • isolating or excluding him or her from his or her team of co-workers.

An employer may engage in examples of mobbing behaviour towards an employee, such as:

  • directing constant insults at the employee;
  • using excessive criticism of work tasks;
  • delegating too many work tasks in an impossible time frame;
  • devaluing the role and usefulness of the employee in the eyes of other co-workers, e.g. by making fun of the employee or her tasks in public.

What can an employee do?

The Labour Code provides for two possible actions for the mobbed employee, depending on the consequences of the employer’s mobbing actions. These include:

  • compensation – in the case of an employee whose health has been damaged by the mobbing;
  • damages in an amount not lower than the minimum salary – in the case of an employee who has been mobbed or whose employment contract has been terminated as a result of the mobbing.

Statistics in compensation cases

The records of court cases show that far more cases for compensation than for damages were heard in the courts, both in the regional courts and in the district courts acting as courts of first instance.

As a reminder – a lawsuit in cases for compensation or damages is filed with the district court as the court of first instance if the value of the object of litigation (i.e. the amount of compensation or damages sought) was previously PLN 75,000. Following the amendment to the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure in July 2023, this amount is now PLN 100,000.

Since 2011, the number of compensation cases to be handled in regional courts has increased from 405 to 484 cases in 2018. Since then, there has been a gentle decline to 448 cases in 2021.

It is worth noting, however, that the number of cases that have been postponed to the next reporting period is increasing year on year, which means that the courts are not keeping up with the recognition of the outstanding and ongoing redress cases.

Taking into account the last few years, we see that:

  • in 2021, out of 448 cases, only 177 cases were settled, of which only 17 cases were allowed to be sued;
  • in 2018, 199 out of 484 cases were settled, of which the claim was upheld in only 34 cases.

The situation is similar with cases in the district courts, where there has been an increase in the remaining cases to be dealt with from 2019. However, in opposition to the district courts, the number of cases in the county courts is successively increasing (with small fluctuations between 2012 and 2015 and in 2018) reaching 86 cases in 2011 and as many as 144 cases in 2021.

This means that employees:

  • are valuing the harm caused by employers’ mobbing actions at an increasing value;
  • are increasingly choosing to file a lawsuit against employers in the district court as a court of first instance.

The statistics in terms of cases settled and those in which the settlement resulted in the acceptance of the lawsuit look similar to those in the regional courts – in 2014, 33 out of 88 cases were settled, of which the lawsuit was accepted in only four cases.

It is worth noting that the filing of a lawsuit for payment of compensation can be done by an employee who remains in employment with the current employer, which is probably a factor that discourages employees from such action, however, every year there is an increase in such cases in the courts.

Statistics in damages cases

An analysis of the records made available by the Ministry of Justice shows that regional courts have seen a decreasing number of lawsuits for compensation related to mobbing actions each year between 2011 and 2021.

In 2011, the number of such cases amounted to 130, while in 2021 it was only 86 – which is quite surprising given that a claim under this title may also be brought by an employee who has already terminated his or her cooperation with the previous employer.

The situation is similar for cases in district courts, where:

  • between 2011 and 2017, approximately 30-40 cases were filed per year,
  • in later years, the number fluctuated around 20-25 cases per year.

It is noteworthy that in both district courts and regional courts, the number of cases transferred to the next reporting period increased and decreased over the period under study, still accounting for a fairly significant proportion of cases dealt with in a given year.

In the cases heard in regional courts:

  • 48 out of 98 cases in 2016 were recognised, of which only 8 were taken into account;
  • of the 88 cases in 2019, 33 were heard, of which only 1 was taken into account – for example, in the same year, 19 cases were brought to the district court, of which 9 were heard, but not a single one was taken into account – a similar trend continues in the other years studied.


Employees continue to show a certain reluctance to take their mobbing cases to court for compensation, whether in the form of redress or damages. This is not surprising – the statistics are not encouraging, particularly in terms of the number of cases taken into account.

For employees, this certainly means one thing – entering into discussions with an existing or former employer or implementing other (non-judicial) steps often has a better and faster effect than filing a lawsuit in court. Such solutions allow both employees and employers to realise their needs and create a better space for mutual discussions, avoiding confrontations in the courtroom. Practice shows that resolving a matter out of court amicably is often more beneficial for both parties to a dispute.

Paula Staszak-Urbańska, LL.M., Trainee attorney-at-law (PL)
Mateusz Turowski, Trainee attorney-at-law (PL)

+49 30 88 03 59 0
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