European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)


EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES OMBUDSMAN
LITHUANIA

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Background
Mandate
Decision-making powers
CONTACT

Background 

The Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman was established on 25 May 1999 by Decision No. VIII-1200 of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania. Its legal basis stems from the Law on Equal Opportunities between Women and Men of 1 December 1998. This law came into effect on 1 March 1999.

On 1 January 2005, a new Law on Equal Treatment came into force, guaranteeing the right to file complaints to the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman in cases of discrimination on grounds of age, sexual orientation, disability, race and ethnic origin, religion or beliefs.

Mandate 

The Ombudsman supervises the implementation of equal opportunities and may investigate complaints relating to:

  • Direct discrimination based on gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, racial or ethnic origin, religion or beliefs, which occurs when a person or group of persons is treated less favorably than another is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation, except for in the following cases provided for by law:

- restrictions on grounds of age;
- when knowledge of the official state language is required;
- prohibition from taking part in political activities;
- different rights applied on the basis of citizenship;
- special measures to facilitate the process of integrating persons with disabilities into the labour market ;
- special temporary measures applied while striving to ensure equality and prevent the violation of the right to equal treatment;
- certain professional activities requiring specific human characteristics.

  • Indirect discrimination, which occurs when an apparently neutral provision, criterion or practice restricts the rights of a person or group of persons on the grounds of gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, racial or ethnic origin, religion or beliefs.
  • Harassment, which occurs when a person or group of persons violate the dignity of or create an intimidating, hostile and degrading or offensive environment for a person of group of persons on the basis of the latter’s age, sexual orientation, disability, racial or ethnic origin, religion or beliefs .
  • Instruction to discriminate on the basis of a person’s age, sexual orientation, disability, racial or ethnic origin, religion or beliefs.

However, the provisions of the Law on Equal Opportunities of Women and Men and the Law on the Equal Treatment do not apply to family and private life.

Every natural or legal person has the right to file a complaint with the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman about the violation of equal rights.

The complaints should be in writing: the complainant or his representative may send the complaint to the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman by post, fax, e-mail or bring it to the Ombudsman’s office.

If the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman receives complaints orally (including by telephone) or has found indications of the violation of equal rights via the mass media or other sources of information, the Ombudsman may start the investigation on his/her own initiative.

The Ombudsperson may also decide to investigate anonymous complaints.

The time limit for filing complaints shall be 3 months after the commission of acts against which the complaint is being filed. Complaints filed after the expiry of this time limit shall not be investigated unless the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman decides otherwise.

Decision-making powers 

Upon the completion of the investigation (lasting up to 2 months) the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman may take one of the following decisions:

  • to refer the material to investigative bodies if indications of an offence have been established;
  • to recommend to discontinue the actions violating equal opportunities or to repeal the relevant legal act;
  • to dismiss the complaint if the violations mentioned in it have not been corroborated;
  • to discontinue the investigation if the complainant withdraws the complaint;
  • to admonish regarding a violation which has been committed;
  • to temporarily halt the investigation, if the person, whose complaint or actions, in reference to which a complaint has been made, are under investigation, is ill or absent.

The infringement of the principle of equal treatment on the basis of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation will be specifically prohibited by the Code of Administrative Offences and the violators will face the possibility of an administrative fine.

The Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson may provide information to the press and other mass media about the investigation of a complaint relating to the violation of equal opportunities, with the consent of the complainant.

CONTACT 

Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson
Lygių galimybių kontrolieriaus tarnyba
Pylimo str. 35
LT-01141 VILNIUS
Tel: +370 5 261 27 87
Fax: +370 5 261 27 25
E-mail: mvlgk@lrs.lt
Website: www.lygybe.lrs.lt