Ethical veganism - Myth buster
- Date: Tuesday 21st January 2020
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You may have heard the news that veganism is now protected by law and that employers must make reasonable adjustment for vegan employees. Unfortunately, many media reports painted an inaccurate picture, and we would like to clarify the situation to our members.
Jordi Casamitjana is a former employee of animal rights charity League Against Cruel Sports (LACS). He is a committed vegan, and of the profound belief that we should not be using any animal products in order to avoid inflicting any pain on living beings.
When he found out that his employer invested in a pension scheme that was linked to organisations supporting and conducting animal testing, he raised the issue not only with his employer, but also his fellow colleagues. He was dismissed under gross misconduct allegations, and not given the option to appeal, although we have not yet been told exactly what these were based on.
The actual case is not due to be heard until February.
At a preliminary hearing earlier this month, the courts ruled that ethical veganism should be considered when examining the right to make a disclosure and exercise rights covered under the Equality Act 2010.
So, what has been called a ‘landmark ruling’ is in fact just a simple interpretation of the law.
The ruling should not actually come as a surprise to us since other beliefs, as well as religion, are already protected by law.
It is important to remember that the protection does not apply to employees claiming to be vegan, but not actually adopting the belief (i.e. if they continue to wear leather or wool garments, consume or work with animal related products, etc).
Also, the Equality Act 2010 puts a requirement on the employer to consider reasonable adjustments. In Casamitjana’s case, the employer could for example have considered offering him an alternative investment opportunity. However, the crux of the case will become clearer once the hearing has been conducted, and we will of course keep you posted on developments.
For further information, this interview may provide more clarity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HrXQR1dV7w
Source: Manuela Grossmann