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Ethical Veganism Protected by Law

Charlotte Anderson   |   20th January 2020   |   2 minute read


An employment tribunal has ruled that ethical veganism is a philosophical belief protected by law, meaning that public sector institutions and employers must take necessary steps to ensure that ‘ethical vegans’ are protected from discrimination. 

The ruling is significant for employers, particularly those in food businesses working with animal products. Under the law, ethical vegans – that is, vegans who repudiate animal products and by products on animal welfare and environmental grounds, as opposed to those who consume a vegan diet for health reasons, would be permitted to reject any association with anything deemed unethical towards animals and/or the environment. 

The law came to pass following a tribunal in Norwich where claimant Jordi Casamitjana claimed he was sacked by his employer, the League Against Cruel Sports after raising concerns that its pension fund was being invested into companies involved in animal testing. 

He claims he was unfairly disciplined for his disclosure and that the decision to dismiss him was because of his philosophical belief in ethical veganism. 

Judge Robin Postle gave a short summary judgment, ruling that ethical veganism satisfies the tests required for it to be a philosophical belief and is therefore protected under the Equality Act 2010. 

For a belief to be protected under the Act, it must meet a series of tests including being worthy of respect in a democratic society, not being incompatible with human dignity and not conflicting with fundamental rights of others. 

Other case law already indicated that ethical veganism may fall under this protection, but this is the first time that a direct ruling has been made in UK law.





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