In this section, you will find information about where and how to submit a complaint about discrimination in Bulgaria.

Before you make a formal complaint, it is important to understand what you want to achieve. If your rights have been violated, you are entitled to a remedy, which can take many forms like an apology, compensation, reinstatement etc.  Before you decide to complain, it is important to understand which form of remedy you are willing to receive.

Informal complaint

Sometimes it is better to try to resolve the problem informally first. You can raise the issue with your employer, educational institution, service provider, etc., depending, of course, on where you have experienced the discrimination. This may save the time and costs of legal proceedings. If you have not received any response, or the response was not satisfactory, you may decide to proceed with a formal complaint.

Formal complaints to state institutions and courts

Sometimes it is better to start with a complaint to the state institutions dealing with discrimination in general or which have control over a particular sector. There are various state institutions that have the task of overseeing activities in different sectors, such as health, education, the provision of goods and services etc. 

important If you choose to complain to these specialized authorities first, you must be careful not to miss procedural deadlines for filing the complaint in court, which in some cases is the only authority that can decisively resolve your discrimination case and award compensation.

Administrative sanctions

In accordance with the Bulgarian Protection from Discrimination Law, an administrative fine of 125 to 1000 euro may be imposed for a violation of the prohibition of discrimination. Such a fine may be imposed in any field by the Protection from Discrimination Commission or by a judge of a district court.

Criminal sanctions

Discrimination is punishable under the Bulgarian Criminal Code if it has caused grave consequences. These criminalised actions and behaviour are known as hate crimes.  In such case, you should submit a complaint to the State Police.

Complaints to international human rights bodies

If you think that the violation of your rights has not been remedied by Bulgarian institutions or courts, you should submit a complaint to international and European institutions, such as the European Court of Human Rights or the UN Human Rights Committee.

About this section

This section of the Guide will explain, how and where to complain about discrimination, and where to seek help.

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education