03/01/2020 - Judge rules that ethical veganism is a protected belief

employmenttribunalJordi Casamitjana told Vegan Life magazine he was "shocked" when he was sacked by 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 making this disclosure and that the decision to dismiss him was because of his philosophical belief in ethical veganism. His former employer claimed that Jordi was dismissed for gross misconduct.

The judge Robin Postle ruled that ethical veganism qualifies as a philosophical belief, after satisfying several tests - including that it is worthy of respect in a democratic society, not incompatible with human dignity and not conflict with the fundamental rights of others.

The League Against Cruel Sports did not contest that ethical veganism should be protected.

The judge ruled ethical veganism should fall under the Equality Act 2010 but is yet to rule on his dismissal.

Dietary vegans and ethical vegans both eat a plant-based diet, but ethical vegans also try to exclude all forms of animal exploitation including not wearing clothing made of wool or leather and not using products tested on animals. This follows the definition of 'Vegan' used by the Vegan Society.

Mr. Casamitjana's lawyers, Slater and Gordon, said ethical veganism satisfied the tests required for it to be a philosophical or religious belief, which would mean it was protected under the Equality Act of 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.

Solicitor Peter Daly, acting for Mr. Casamitjana, described ethical veganism as "a philosophical belief held by a significant portion of the population in the UK and around the world".

Pat Harrington of Solidarity welcomed the ruling saying: "Too many times we have seen Judges ruling against protecting particular beliefs on the flimsiest of grounds. The recent ruling against a Feminist asserting that there were two biological sexes being a notable example. I hope that some of these will be overturned on appeal and I welcome this new ruling which stands separate from the other rights and wrongs of the case. It is surely right that in a democracy people with sincere political, religious or ethical beliefs should not be sacked on account of them. Whilst this ruling was at a lower Tribunal and is not, therefore, binding on other Tribunals the detailed reasons for the ruling are likely to be followed. Well done Jordi and Slater Gordon for winning a victory for democracy and us all."