Ethical veganism is a “philosophical belief” protected by law, an employment tribunal has ruled.
The case was brought by zoologist Jordi Casamitjana, who believes he was unfairly dismissed from his job at the League Against Cruel Sports because of his vegan beliefs.
The 55-year-old claims that he was unfairly disciplined after raising concerns that his pension fund was being invested in companies implicated in animal testing.
However, his employer insists he was dismissed for gross misconduct.
Judge Robin Postle ruled that ethical veganism meets the necessary criteria to be considered a “protected characteristic” under the Equality Act 2010 at a hearing in Norwich on Friday (3 January), BBC News reports.
The judge is yet to decide on Casamitjana’s dismissal, which will be determined following a full merits hearing planned to take place in February this year.
The judge ruled that ethical veganism satisfied the tests to be considered a “belief”, one of the characteristics protected under the Equality Act.
These tests include whether or not the belief is worthy of respect in a democratic society, not incompatible with human dignity and not conflicting with the fundamental rights of others.
“I am satisfied overwhelmingly that ethical veganism does constitute a philosophical belief,” he said, according to BBC News.
The ruling, which has not yet been published, means that those who subscribe to veganism for ethical reasons are legally protected from discrimination.
Reacting to the decision, Casamitjana said: “Better protection means more vegans will be able to be open about their beliefs.
“This can only be a good thing for the billions of animals still exploited by humans, an environment under duress and stressed public health.”
Lawyer Peter Daly, who was representing Casamitjana, added: “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.”
Casamitjana has set up an online crowdfunding page to cover his legal costs.
Drag the slider and make your voice heard.
Thanks for voting!
Get your friends to vote, share this page.