Making a complaint
Here we describe how you make a complaint to DO and what is important to consider when making a complaint.
Before you make a complaint, we recommend that you first read through the information on the pages You can make a complaint about discrimination to DO and What does the Ombudsman do with complaints?
On the page Who to contact you will find contact information for the authorities and other actors who deal with different types of complaints.
Important things to consider
You can complain about these situations
DO receives complaints concerning violations of the Discrimination Act and the Parental Leave Act's ban concerning disfavourable treatment of persons on parental leave. You can make a complaint even if the matter you want to bring attention to does not concern you personally.
This means that you can make a complaint to DO if you consider that:
- You personally, or someone else, have been discriminated against, subjected to reprisals or disadvantaged in relation to parental leave.
- An employer or education provider did not fulfil their obligation to investigate and take action against harassment or sexual harassment.
- An employer or education provider does not meet its obligation to to promote equal rights and opportunities and to prevent harassment or sexual harassment.
It is also possible to make a complaint if you consider that an actor is using a method or approach, or applies a practice, which creates a risk of discrimination.
DO pursues a limited number of complaints in court. If DO is going to pursue a case in court, we must first receive a complaint from the person who feels they have been discriminated. Such a complaint may be made either in person or by proxy.
Make a complaint by filling in a form or in some other way
It is possible to make a complaint by using one of DO's forms that you print, fill in and then send to DO by letter, e-mail, or in some other way.
It is also just as acceptable to write a complaint in a letter that you send by post or e-mail. The letter must include your name, address, phone number, and preferably an e-mail address, as well as the corresponding information about the party you are reporting. Describe as clearly as possible what your complaint is about.
If you find it difficult to write a letter or fill in DO's forms due to a disability or for some other reason, you can make a complaint orally or in another way. Please contact us for more information.
Document what happened
It is important to document the event or events and to save information that could be used as evidence later in the case. This could, for example, be information in e-mails, text messages or recordings, which can indicate that an event is an act of discrimination or disadvantaging related to parental leave.
It is possible to make a complaint in any language
It is possible to make a complaint to DO in any language. DO will translate the complaint to Swedish.
DO can supply information and communications about a complaint in accessible (alternative) formats.
Your complaint is a public document
When a complaint is received by DO it will be registered and given a case number. Since DO is a public authority, the complaint will become a public document. This means that anyone has the right to request to read it.
DO always makes a confidentiality assessment, which may mean that sensitive information is not disclosed. If you have protected personal data and you want DO to consider this in the confidentiality assessment, you must write that in your complaint. However, DO is limited in its ability to classify information as confidential. This means that we cannot guarantee that we can keep all personal data confidential in a case, even if the person concerned has protected personal data. Find out more about how we handle personal data
Prohibition of reprisals against the complainant
A person who has complained about discrimination or reported that a party is in violation of the Discrimination Act is protected by law against being penalised, i.e. exposed to reprisals. Examples of what may constitute a reprisal could be an employer ordering the person to work excessive overtime, giving a complainant a higher workload or tasks that are too unskilled. A person who is a victim of reprisals can report the case to DO.
Discriminated at work? Trade unions have the right to represent their members
If you are a member of a trade union and believe that you have been discriminated at work , you should first contact your union. Under the law, the union has a right to represent its members in discrimination cases and in matters related to disfavourable treatment in connection with parental leave. If your union does not represent you, you can submit a complaint to DO. DO then needs a decision in writing from the trade union stating that it will not proceed with the case. This information should be attached to the complaint to DO.
Report as soon as possible
A complaint may lead to different types of measures and actions from DO. We take a limited number of complaints to court each year. For DO to have the possibility to of pursue a case in court, it is important to report the matter to DO as soon as possible after it occurs. The matter may otherwise be statute-barred. This means that it is too late to take it to court.
The deadlines vary, depending on whether the discrimination concerned working life, school/college, or some other part of society. With regard to working life, the limit is normally a few months, but may vary between two weeks and two years, depending on whether the complainant is a member of a union or not. In the areas of education and other parts of society, the most common time limit is two years.
Do you have any questions about making a complaint?
If you have questions about making a complaint, you can first read the answers under FAQ on the DO website. You can also contact the DO help desk.