Veganism and Discrimination – the Employment Tribunal is to be asked if Veganism is a Protected Characteristic under the Equality Act 2010.
Currently we have 9 protected characteristics, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, sex and religion or belief. It is the last one of these – religion and belief that is being put to the test – is Veganism a strong enough philosophical belief to meet the test criteria, which say it must be; genuinely held, be a belief as to a weighty and substantial part of human life and behaviour, attain a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance, be worthy of respect in a democratic society, not be incompatible with human dignity and not conflict with the fundamental rights of others and it must be a belief, not an opinion or viewpoint based on the present state of information available.
The person bringing the case is a vegan, of course, who believes that he was dismissed because of his stance on ethical Veganism and the fact that he complained about his employers, The League Against Cruel Sports, allowing pension funds to be invested in companies that allow animal testing.
This case will be heard in March next year and if successful will add Veganism to the list of recognised philosophical beliefs. In the recent past, some of this type of challenge has succeeded, for instance a judge ruled that a belief in Man Made Climate Change was a philosophical belief. However, other challenges have failed, including, the belief that poppies should be worn for Remembrance Day and a belief that the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks were “false flag operations”.
We will report back in March when we have the result on Veganism.
If you need advice on any of the elements of the Equality Act 2010, please call our expert employment lawyers on 01215 856 1625
The BBC has some more on this article if you click here