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Protected grounds of discrimination

There are seven grounds of discrimination covered by the law prohibiting discrimination: sex, transgender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation and age.


We describe below how the different grounds of discrimination are defined in the Discrimination Act and its preparatory work (government bill 2007/08:95). In some cases, we have also commented on the law's definition.


The term sex means that someone is male or female. The prohibition of discrimination on the ground of also includes persons who have undergone, or who are planning to undergo sex reassignement.

Transgender identity or expression

Transgender identity or expression describes persons who do not define themselves as a woman or a man, or express by their manner of dressing or in some other way that they belong to another sex. The term includes both a person's mental or self-perceived gender image and how a person expresses what may be called their social gender through, for example, clothing, body language, make-up or hair style.

The Discrimination Act's prohibition of discrimination applies to persons with a transgender identity or expression. DO often instead uses the concepts of gender identity or gender expression.


The term ethnicity refers to an individual's national or ethnic origin, skin colour or other similar characteristic. National origin means that people have the same national affinity, such as Finns, Poles or Swedes. Ethnic origin means that people have a relatively uniform culture. As an example may be mentioned that a person belongs to one of the national minorities such as Sami and Roma.

Religion or other belief

Religion refers to religious beliefs, such as Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity or Islam. Other beliefs include convictions which are based on or connected to a religious belief, such as Buddhism, atheism and agnosticism.

Political convictions and ethical or philosophical values that are not related to religion are not covered by the Discrimination Act.


The term disability refer to lasting physical, mental, or intellectual limitations of a person's functional capacity that as a consequence of injury or illness existed at birth, as arisen since or can be expected to arise. Temporary limitations of a person's functional capacity are not a disability in the sense referred to in the Discrimination Act.

Disability entails a reduction of a person's physical, mental or intellectual capacity. This is therefore something that a person has, not something that a person is. A disability may be more or less apparent in different situations, such as allergies, dyslexia, hearing impairment, visual impairment and so on.

Sexual orientation

The law defines sexual orientation as homosexual, heterosexual and bisexual orientation.


Age means the length of life reached. All people, regardless of age, are protected by the Discrimination Act.

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Senast uppdaterad: 15 september 2022