An employment tribunal in Norwich has recognised ethical veganism as a philosophical belief, which could have profound implications for UK employers.
The case under examination by the tribunal was brough by Jordi Casamitjana, a vegan animal protection professional, who claims he was fired by British charity the League Against Cruel Sports, because he told colleagues that the companies involved in animal testing formed part of the League’s pension investment fund. Casamitjana claims he was discriminated against because of his ethical veganism belief.
The League Against Cruel Sports counter claims that Casamitjana was sacked for gross misconduct.
Ethical vegans are people who not only eat a plant-based diet but also oppose all forms of animal exploitation, like wearing clothing made of wood or leather, visiting zoos or using cosmetics that have been tested on animals.
Judge Robin Postle ruled that ethical veganism is a “philosophical belief” and, as such, it’s protected by the Equality Act 2010. Religion or belief is one of the nine characteristics, which include race, sex, pregnancy and sexuality, protected by the law making it illegal for employers to discriminate on those grounds.
The implications for employers need to be explored. For those interested, here is an article written back in 2017. The information is still valid and gives a good steer on what businesses should be looking out for https://www.thelawyer.com/vegan-rights-uk/