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

This procedure also applies, if a public authority has discriminated against you in the context of a private law contract (such as an employment contract or a contract for the provision of goods or services).

Contents of the complaint

In your claim you should:

  • provide information that indicates that you believe discrimination (including the grounds) may have taken place (who, what, when, how)
  • name the legal provisions which have been violated
  • indicate the amount of the requested compensation
  • attach relevant documents that substantiate your opinion, if there are any

Procedure and time limits

Usually a civil claim should be submitted within ten years after the event. However, in some specific fields there are special time limits for a discrimination complaint. Therefore it is important to find out the time limits for your claim and submit it as soon as possible.  

example According to Latvian law, all claims concerning employment have to be submitted within two years. In some cases the time-limits are even shorter:  three months in a case of discriminatory hiring, working conditions or unequal pay and one month in case of a discriminatory dismissal during the trial period. For cases concerning access to goods and services, including housing, the claim must be submitted within two years.

Court’s assessment

The court will first assess whether you have been discriminated against. When dealing with cases concerning discrimination, the court will be obliged to shift the burden of proof. This means, that you first need to provide the court with evidence that discrimination took place. The duty to provide this evidence is called the burden of proof.

If the court thinks that you have provided enough facts, it will conclude that you have been discriminated against unless your opponent (employer or service provider) can provide sufficient explanation for the way you have been treated. The burden of proof, that is the obligation to prove that actions are legal and justified, is then shifted to your opponent. This will usually mean that they have to show that the way in which you were treated had nothing to do with your characteristics (your sex, age, race, ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability etc.), or that there was a legitimate, objective and reasonable ground for differential treatment.


The court may oblige your opponent to remedy the situation. It may order your opponent to cease the discrimination, reinstate you in your previous position or award you compensation. The compensation may include compensation for material (pecuniary) and moral (non-pecuniary) damages. The amount of compensation is be determined by the court.


Last updated 26/06/2019