How to complain

You have the right to complain if you think you have been discriminated against.

In this section, you will find information about where and how to submit a complaint about discrimination in Latvia.

Before you make a formal complaint, it is important to understand what you want to achieve. If your rights have been violated, you are entitled to a remedy, which can take many forms like an apology, compensation, reinstatement etc.  Before you decide to complain, it is important to understand which form of remedy you are willing to receive.

Informal complaint

Sometimes it is better to try to resolve the problem informally first. You can raise the issue with your employer, educational institution, service provider, etc., depending, of course, on where you have experienced the discrimination. This may save the time and costs of legal proceedings. If you have not received any response, or the response was not satisfactory, you may decide to proceed with a formal complaint.

Formal complaints to state institutions and courts

Sometimes it is better to start with a complaint to the state institutions dealing with discrimination in general or which have control over a particular sector. There are various state institutions that have the task of overseeing activities in different sectors, such as health, education, the provision of goods and services etc. 

important If you choose to complain to these specialized authorities first, you must be careful not to miss procedural deadlines for filing the complaint in court, which in some cases is the only authority that can decisively resolve your discrimination case and award compensation.

Administrative sanctions

Administrative liability for violations of prohibition of discrimination or unequal treatment are envisaged in laws regulating the specific field. For example, in accordance with the Labour law, an administrative fine of 28 to 70 fine units (1 unit being 5 euro) may be imposed for a violation of the prohibition of discrimination if the employer is a private person and from 70 to 140 fine units if the employer is a legal person. In employment, such a fine may be imposed by the State Labour Inspectorate.

Criminal sanctions

Discrimination is punishable under the Latvian Criminal Law if it has caused grave consequences. It is also punishable under the Criminal Law if such discrimination was committed by a state official, a responsible employee of a company, or a group of persons or in using an automated data processing system.  In such case, you should submit a complaint to the State Police.

Complaints to international human rights bodies

If you think that the violation of your rights has not been remedied by Latvian institutions or courts, you should submit a complaint to international and European institutions, such as the European Court of Human Rights or the UN Human Rights Committee.

About this section

This section of the Guide will explain, how and where to complain about discrimination, and where to seek help.

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education