An Employment Tribunal judge has today ruled that ethical veganism is a philosophical belief and satisfies the tests for ‘protected characteristics’.
Jordi Casamitjana’s claim for unfair dismissal against his former employer, the League Against Cruel Sports, has made headlines today. He claims that he was sacked for his ethical veganism after telling colleagues that their employer’s pension fund was invested in companies involved in animal testing. The League Against Cruel Sports denies the claim and says that he was sacked for gross misconduct.
The ruling by Judge Robin Postle, while not a binding legal precedent, does mean that ethical veganism counts as a philosophical or religious belief under the 2010 Equality Act and harassment of ethical vegans could be considered discriminatory action. Interestingly, the League Against Cruel Sports does not contest this, maintaining that this was not the reason for Mr. Casamitjana’s dismissal.
Ethical vegans but not vegetarians
While this has been hailed as a victory for vegans everywhere, it may not be as clear cut as many would like. Mr. Casamitjana’s particular beliefs may not be identical to other ethical vegans and the final ruling on unfair dismissal has yet to be made; he may yet find he has won this battle but not his case.
This follows another recent case at the Employment Tribunal where the judge ruled that vegetarianism is not a protected characteristic. However, the implications are likely be far reaching and may affect more than just employers.
It is against the law to harass, discriminate against or dismiss anyone because of:
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
We have helped many clients to bring successful claims to the Employment Tribunal. If you feel you have been discriminated against please contact us. We will be happy to discuss your claim and advise on whether to proceed. Call 0114 220 1795 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.