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Ethical veganism ruled as a philosophical belief

8th January 2020


For the first time a tribunal has ruled that ethical veganism is a philosophical belief, following the case of Jordi Casamitjana, who claimed he was sacked by animal welfare charity League Against Cruel Sports because of his ethical veganism, the BBC reports.

Jordi Casamitjana was dismissed for gross misconduct after he discovered the charity invests in pension funds involved in animal testing. After discussing with his employees and seeing no action taken, he disclosed the information to other employees.

The judge Robin Postle ruled that ethical veganism qualifies as a philosophical belief under the Equality Act 2010. Jordi Casamitjana comments to the BBC after the ruling: “I'm really, really satisfied…Veganism is a philosophical belief and when you look at my life and anybody else's life who is an ethical vegan, you will see it. This is a positive belief, it's not a negative belief. And therefore, a positive belief is bound to be protected."

Ethical veganism refers to those who abide by a vegan diet and lifestyle, meaning they avoid all animal products, for instance, leather shoes and wool clothing.  

Employment lawyer Peter Daly, the solicitor of Jordi Caramitjana, comments to The Guardian: “A philosophical belief held by a significant portion of the population in the UK and around the world. This was the first of a two-part employment tribunal. Now the question of ethical veganism has been determined by the judge, the litigation will move on to determine the lawfulness of Jordi’s treatment by the League Against Cruel Sports.

“The recognition of ethical veganism as a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 will have potentially significant effects on employment and the workplace, education, transport and the provision of goods and services.”

This ruling may mean there are many changes to be anticipated for businesses in the UK. The BBC’s legal correspondent Clive Coleman analyses that this ruling will have far-reaching effects, including that employers must ensure they do not discriminate against employees for their ethical veganism beliefs. This news may also encourage others to seek similar protection for their beliefs.

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