Protected group

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Protected class)

A protected group, protected class (US), or prohibited ground (Canada) is a category by which people qualified for special protection by a law, policy, or similar authority. In Canada and the United States, the term is frequently used in connection with employees and employment and housing. Where illegal discrimination on the basis of protected group status is concerned, a single act of discrimination may be based on more than one protected class. For example, discrimination based on antisemitism may relate to religion, ethnicity, national origin, or any combination of the three; discrimination against a pregnant woman might be based on sex, marital status, or both.[1]


"Prohibited grounds of discrimination" (French: motif de distinction illicite) in employment and housing are listed in the federal Canadian Human Rights Act as well as the provincial human rights codes. For examples the federal law lists: race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, family status, genetic characteristics, disability, and conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted or in respect of which a record suspension has been ordered.[2]

Council of Europe[edit]

Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights states that discrimination is prohibited on "any ground" (French: sans distinction aucune) but also lists several examples. This protection was expanded by Protocol 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights which states that all law must also applied without discrimination, and not just in housing, employment, and other areas covered by the Convention. This was first litigated in 2009 when the court found in Sejdić and Finci v. Bosnia and Herzegovina that constitutional rules around eligibility to run for office also must be non-discriminatory.

United States[edit]

US federal law offers protections for all individuals from certain forms of discrimination or harassment in addition to the many state laws which also offer universal protection within their jurisdiction. States offer their own form of protection against harassment and discrimination, as do many employer policies.[3] Though it is not required by federal law, state law and employer policies may also protect employees from harassment or discrimination based on marital status.[1] Regardless of any perceived class, everyone is accountable to anti-discrimination law according to a specific basis of discrimination such as the following:

Individual states can and do create other classes for protection under state law.

Presidents have also issued executive orders which prohibit consideration of particular attributes in employment decisions of the United States government and its contractors. These have included Executive Order 11246 (1965), Executive Order 11478 (1969), Executive Order 13087 (1998), Executive Order 13279 (2003), and Executive Order 13672 (2014).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Protected Group Member Law & Legal Definition". Retrieved 21 December 2008.
  2. ^ Canadian Human Rights Act, s. 3(1).
  3. ^ "Protections Against Employment Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity". 15 June 2021.
  4. ^ Liptak, Adam (15 June 2020). "Civil Rights Law Protects Gay and Transgender Workers, Supreme Court Rules". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 15 June 2020.