Discrimination is prohibited by law in all legal employment relationships, whether you are employed by a state institution or a private employer.

Employment relations cover access to employment (including job advertisements, recruitment), trial periods, working conditions (promotion, training, etc.), pay and dismissals, and discrimination is prohibited in these areas. Discrimination is prohibited in relation to both workers and the self-employed.

The prohibition of discrimination in employment applies to both public and private institutions, entities and individuals. The state civil service and military service, as well as the special service in the Ministry of the Interior (such as police or fire and rescue) and Prison Administration, are all subject to the same prohibition of discrimination.

In Latvia, the Labour Law explicitly prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sex or gender, race or ethnic origin, religion or belief, age, disability, sexual orientation and other grounds. However, there are exceptions, such as genuine requirements and ethos, which are explicitly applicable to employment and allow the employer to choose a particular type of employee.

Access to employment and advertising

The prohibition of discrimination makes it illegal for employers to publish a job advertisement which shows a preference for employees of a certain sex, age, nationality or on other prohibited grounds.  

example A job advertisement that seeks young and attractive female waitresses, or discourages persons over 50 from applying for the job, is discriminatory.

Job interview

The prohibition of discrimination also forbids employers from discriminating against job applicants during the entire hiring process. This covers individual stages of hiring such as the screening of applications, job interviews, tests etc. 

example Employers should not ask questions about pregnancy or plans for motherhood, family or marital status, religious beliefs, national or ethnic origin, membership of a political party or trade union during a job interview.

Work conditions, promotion and training

The law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees in the determination of their work conditions, awarding promotions and involving employees in professional and in-service training.

example The announcement that only workers of a certain age are eligible for promotion or training is prohibited.

Equal pay

You are entitled to receive equal pay for equal work.  This means that you should receive equal pay with your colleague for doing the same or largely similar work. This also applies to work which is different, but is equal in terms of the demands on an employee. 

example An employee of the opposite sex, who is in the same employment and doing the same or largely similar work, should not receive a substantially higher salary.


You should not be dismissed only because you belong to a group of people with a certain nationality, sex, age, religious beliefs or other characteristics, which are prohibited grounds  for discrimination. 

example The prohibition of discrimination will be violated if an employer needs to dismiss workers and decides that workers of a certain age will be dismissed first. An employer may only take considerations related to your work into account in a case of dismissal.

What human rights violation may there be?

The prohibition of discrimination will be violated if you are not hired, promoted or are otherwise treated worse than other employees by your employer only because you belong to a group of people with certain characteristics (age, sex, nationality etc.).  

However, even if you belong to one of these groups, but you are dismissed from your employment for other reasons, such as the quality of your work or violations of the internal rules of your employer, the prohibition of discrimination will not be violated.

How to complain

If you believe that you may have been discriminated against by your employer, you may file a complaint to the State Labor Inspectorate or to the court of general jurisdiction.

If you believe that you have been discriminated against in the selection procedure for a civil service position or while working as a civil servant, you may submit a complaint to a higher institution, and afterwards, to the administrative court.

Read more about how to complain.


Last updated 26/06/2019