A person is subject to multiple forms of inequality if she or he is deprived or has unequal enjoyment of a human right on the basis of multiple grounds. Inequality and multiple inequality do not always amount to a violation as sometimes it is unavoidable. However, when the deprivation or inequality of enjoyment is avoidable, this is a violation of the right to non-discrimination and is known as multiple discrimination.

Multiple discrimination occurs when a person is discriminated against on one ground in a certain situation and a different ground in another context. For example, an indigenous girl may face discrimination on the basis of her sex in one context and in another situation she may be subject to racial discrimination.

Compound discrimination is discrimination on two or more grounds occurring at the same time. For example, an indigenous girl may suffer discrimination on the basis of her sex and race simultaneously. As a result she suffers an exacerbated and distinct form of discrimination.

Intersectional discrimination refers to a situation where several grounds operate and interact with each other at the same time in such a way that they are inseparable.

All three terms are often used interchangeably.