Lokesh’s experience working at a cafe
Lokesh recently graduated from university and is looking for a job that would require his engineering skills. In the meantime, he is earning money by working at a small café in the Old Town.
Lokesh is not the only foreign citizen working at the café; almost all the employees are foreign students. Lokesh has been washing dishes at the café for 7 months. Other employees work for a shorter period of time, but instead of washing dishes, they serve tables or help the chef.
Lokesh asked if he could also serve tables, but the café manager refused, saying that the café customers wouldn’t be happy if Lokesh served them.
Lokesh is convinced that it’s because he is gay and because he is not European.
What to do in a similar situation?
If an employee suspects possible differential treatment based on nationality, sexual orientation, citizenship, or similar characteristics, they have the right to turn to the State Labour Inspectorate (VDI). The VDI is responsible for investigating whether there has been a violation of the prohibition of discrimination or other violations of the Labour Law.
If the VDI finds that an employee has been subjected to discrimination, the employer may be fined. A violation of the prohibition of discrimination can also be a basis for taking the matter to court to seek compensation for damages and non-pecuniary harm.
To seek advice on how to best handle a specific situation and receive legal assistance, individuals can approach the Ombudsman’s Office or the Latvian Centre for Human Rights.
It’s important to remember that a customer’s preferences based on prejudice cannot serve as a justification for discrimination by the employer!
Why is it important to report discrimination?
Unjust differential treatment based on grounds such as skin color, nationality or ethnic origin, religious belief, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, etc., is prohibited.
Reporting such treatment is important to protect one’s rights, receive compensation for the harm caused, and prevent the continuation of unlawful practices.
State Labour Inspectorate
(Valsts darbs inspekcija – VDI)
K.Valdemāra iela 38 k-1, Rīga, LV-1010
Tālr. (+371) 7021704, (+371) 67186522
The Ombudsman’s Office:
Baznīcas ielā 25, Rīgā, LV-1010
The Latvian Centre for Human Rights
(Latvijas Cilvēktiesību centrs)
Skolas ielā 21, 609C, Rīgā, LV-1010
Tālr.: (+371) 67039290
This informative material is created as part of the project “Towards a more tolerant society: information, education, support and cooperation.” The project is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and the Norwegian grant programme “Active Citizens Fund”. Make Room Europe and the Latvian Centre for Human Rights are fully responsible for the content of this material.