Ethical Veganism

legal_updates

Under the Equality Act 2010, religion or belief are protected characteristics.

Author: Katie Fitzjohn
Published:
Reading time: 2 minutes

This article is 2 years old.

Read our disclaimer keyboard_arrow_down

This website content is intended as a general guide to law as it applies to the motor trade. Lawgistics has taken every effort to ensure that the contents are as accurate and up to date as at the date of first publication.

The laws and opinions expressed within this website may be varied as the law develops. As such we cannot accept liability for or the consequence of, any change of law, or official guidelines since publication or any misuse of the information provided.

The opinions in this website are based upon the experience of the authors and it must be recognised that only the courts and recognised tribunals can interpret the law with authority.

Examples given within the website are based on the experience of the authors and centre upon issues that commonly give rise to disputes. Each situation in practice will be different and may comprise several points commented upon.

If you have any doubt about the correct legal position you should seek further legal advice from Lawgistics or a suitably qualified solicitor. We cannot accept liability for your failure to take professional advice where it should reasonably be sought by a prudent person.

All characters are fictitious and should not be taken as referring to any person living or dead.

Use of this website shall be considered acceptance of the terms of the disclaimer presented above.

A tribunal has held in a claim pursued by Jordi Casamitjana, a vegan who believes in following a lifestyle which opposes the use of animals for any purpose, that ethical veganism is a philosophical belief capable of protection from discrimination.

Under the Equality Act 2010, religion or belief are protected characteristics. 
“Belief” is defined in the Equality Act 2010 as any religious or philosophical belief and includes a lack of belief. A belief need not include faith or worship but must affect how a person lives their life or perceives the world.

In the case, Mr Casamitjana was dismissed from the League Against Cruel Sports following his disclosure to employees of the charity investing in pension funds with firms associated with animal testing. The charity denies that Mr Casamitjana’s veganism was a factor in their decision to dismiss and argue that Mr Casamitjana was dismissed due to gross misconduct.

Although the tribunal is yet to rule on the fairness of the dismissal, at this stage it was concluded that veganism constitutes a philosophical belief, satisfying several requirements as established in the case of Grainger plc and others v Nicholson UKEAT/0219/09 including: 

  • it must be a genuinely held belief
  • not an opinion/viewpoint on present state of information
  • must be a belief as to a substantial aspect of human life/behaviour
  • must reach a certain level of urgency, seriousness, cohesion and importance
  • must be worthy of respect in a democratic society be not incompatible with human dignity, and not conflict with fundamental rights of others

The ruling is not to be considered a landmark ruling as it does not implement any changes in the law and it is not a binding precedent. However, the ruling acts as important guidance for employers and it is likely to impact the way ethical vegans are treated in the workplace.

For example, employers will need to consider whether cafeteria options, bathroom toiletries, uniforms, equipment and furniture are vegan friendly. 
Lawgistics Members can get employment law advice from the legal team.

Katie Fitzjohn

Legal Advisor

Read more by this author

Getting in touch

You can contact us via the form or you can call us on 01480 455500.