Safeguards Against Discrimination

In any case of discrimination, a person may seek help from the Ombudsman’s Office, the national body for the promotion of equal treatment, whose task is to assist victims of discrimination.

The Ombudsman:

  • handles individual complaints about all forms of discrimination. Complaints are assessed free of charge, resulting in an amicable settlement or recommendations to the parties involved;
  • provides legal assistance to victims of discrimination – legal advice, preparation of the case and representation in court;
  • conducts independent research and analysis on discrimination issues;
  • explores possible solutions and makes recommendations;
  • publishes independent reports;
  • informs about the right not to be discriminated against;
  • implements the EQUAL project for gender equality “An open labour market for women”;
  • participates in the Roma integration programme.

Discrimination by an employer

In the case of discrimination in employment, regardless of the legal status of the employer and the basis of discrimination, the employee has the right to:

  • Require the employer to put an end to the unequal treatment and to request appropriate compensation from the employer for the wrongful act committed, including compensation for non-material damage, since the employer is responsible for ensuring equal rights at the workplace;
  • Submit a complaint to the State Labour Inspectorate (address: Kr. Valdemāra street 38, Riga, LV-1010). The Inspectorate is entitled to set an administrative penalty on the employer;
  • To initiate proceedings under civil procedure:
    • The application must be lodged with the city/district court;
    • Term – one month;
    • Justification – the relevant provisions of the Labour Law;
    • No fee should be requested;
    • The right to claim damages and compensation for non-material damage;
    • Provide preliminary evidence showing that discrimination may have occurred.

In court, the employee is not obliged to prove that discrimination has occurred, since the Labour Law imposes an obligation on the employer to prove the absence of discrimination in the event of a dispute. The employer must prove that the difference in treatment is based on objective circumstances unrelated to the prohibited criterion or that the prohibited criterion is an objective and justified condition for the performance of the duties in question.

Discrimination by a public authority

If the principle of equality has been violated by a State or local government institution (except in employment) through an action or issuance of an administrative act, the victim of discrimination has the right to:

  • challenge an administrative act in a higher institution, simultaneously claiming compensation for non-material damage, if discrimination occurred via the issuance of an administrative act;
  • initiate administrative proceedings challenging the decision of the highest authority or the actual conduct of the institution:
    • The application must be submitted to the Administrative District Court;
    • Term – one month (if indicated in the contested administrative act) or one year (if the time limit is not specified or if the actual action of the institution is contested);
    • Justification – Section 92 of the Administrative Procedure Law: ‘Everyone is entitled to claim due compensation for financial loss or personal damage, including moral damage, which has been caused to him or her by an administrative act or an actual action of an institution.’;
    • A fee will be requested (is not dependent on the amount in the claim), you may ask the court to reduce it;
    • It should be noted that reimbursement should first be sought from the institution.

Info materials