What are grounds for a complaint?

The Alberta Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on fifteen grounds and five areas. The Act aims to ensure that Albertans are treated fairly and with respect and dignity in the workplace, as well as other areas. The Act prohibits discrimination on these grounds:
  • race
  • colour
  • ancestry
  • place of origin
  • religious beliefs
  • gender
  • gender identity
  • gender expression
  • age
  • physical disability
  • mental disability
  • marital status
  • family status 
  • source of income
  • sexual orientation

The Act prohibits discrimination in these areas:

  • employment practices, such as hiring, firing, conditions of work, and equal pay
  • employment applications, advertisements, or interviews
  • residential and commercial tenancy
  • goods, services, accommodation or facilities customarily available to the public
  • statements, publications, notices, signs, symbols, emblems or other representations displayed before the public
  • membership in trade unions, employers' organizations or occupational associations

In addition, the equal pay area (section 6) requires employers to pay males and females the same rate of pay if they perform the same or substantially similar work. Read more about equal pay.

An individual who has experienced discrimination has to demonstrate that the discrimination was based on one or more of the grounds in a protected area. For example, a female employee who alleges that she was denied a promotion because of her pregnancy would be able to make a complaint on the ground of gender and in the area of employment practices. Individuals making complaints must be able to explain what the discriminatory actions were and how they were treated differently than other employees.

For more information, see the Commission information sheet Protected areas and grounds under the Alberta Human Rights Act.

Revised: April 11, 2017



Our vision is a vibrant and inclusive Alberta where the rich diversity of people is celebrated and respected, and where everyone has the opportunity to fully participate in society, free from discrimination.