Ethical veganism a philosophical belief, court rules

Friday, January 3, 2020

A vegan campaigner has told talkRADIO his employment tribunal case could have “international repercussions” after a judge ruled that ethical veganism should be protected by law.

Jordi Casamitjana had launched legal action after claiming he was fired him from his job because of his philosophical belief in ethical veganism.

The 55-year-old said he was dismissed by the League Against Cruel Sports for raising concerns that its pension fund was being invested into companies linked to animal testing.

Mr Casamitjana, who is from London, told Mike Graham that he had assumed ethical veganism was already protected by law but, after speaking to lawyers, realised it was not.

Dietary vegans and ethical vegans both eat a plant-based diet, but ethical vegans also try to exclude all forms of animal exploitation from their lifestyle.

This includes not wearing clothing made of wool or leather and not using products tested on animals.

Today Judge Robin Postle ruled that he was “satisfied overwhelmingly” that ethical veganism satisfies the tests required for it to be a philosophical belief.

Such tests include: being worthy of respect in a democratic society, not being incompatible with human dignity, not conflicting with fundamental rights of others and being genuinely held.

If these factors are satisfied, the philosphical belief becomes a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, making it unlawful to discriminate, harass or victimise workers or job applicants on the grounds of their beliefs.

Mr Casamitjana said he hopes his action “might inspire other vegans in other countries” to take to the courtroom to protect their beliefs.

The tribunal will now determine whether Mr Casamitjana was treated less favourably by his employer because of his belief in ethical veganism. The next hearing will be on February 20.

The League Against Cruel Sports maintains that Mr Casamitjana was dismissed due to his misconduct and not his beliefs.

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