If you believe you have experienced discrimination and you wish to receive some form of remedy or compensation, you have the right to bring a case to a court.

Choice of the court

The choice of court and procedure depends on the institution, entity or individual, that has committed discrimination. If you have been discriminated against by a public authority, you can start an administrative procedure at a higher institution first, and bring a case to the administrative court subsequently.

If you have been illegally discriminated against by a private entity or individual, you can bring a civil case before a court.

important In cases related to employment, the defining feature is the nature of this employment. If someone is discriminated against in the context of the state civil or military service, he/she can start the administrative procedure at a higher institution first, and later bring a case to the administrative court. Otherwise, a civil case should be brought before a court. The civil procedure also applies in cases where the goods or services are provided by a public authority on the basis of a private law contract.

Preparation for submission of a complaint

If you think that you have been discriminated against, it is important to gather all the information you can about what has happened and to act quickly. For example, ask for any decisions to be given to you in writing. You should also get the names and job titles of all the people involved and make a careful record of what has happened, including what was said, by whom, and on which dates and times.

Evidence of discrimination

Direct evidence of discrimination may be an oral statement or written statement, for example in a letter, note, e-mail by an employer, service provider, doctor, etc. There may also be witness statements.

example An e-mail by an employee of a recruitment company to a female applicant telling her that she will not be interviewed, because the company wants a man for the job.

In many cases, no such direct evidence will be available. However, there may be circumstantial or indirect evidence that indicates that your employer, service provider etc. has discriminated against you.

example You are treated differently than a person who does not belong to the same religion as you in a similar situation.  The employer regularly makes insulting remarks about people of your religion, you have heard other employees belonging to the same religion complain about discrimination, or the way you are treated is unusual or severe enough to suggest discrimination.

About this section

This section of the Guide will explain how to complain about discrimination in different courts.

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education