Ethical Veganism is a Protected Characteristic, ET Rules

<p><img alt=”Vegetable soup” src=”https://s3-eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/legalrss-production/assets/3467/small/hearty-bowl-of-vegetable-noodle-soup-on-marble-counter.jpg?1578269306″ style=”border-style:solid; border-width:0px; float:right; margin:2px 5px” />In a decision that broke new legal ground, an Employment Tribunal (ET) has ruled that ethical veganism is a protected characteristic under the <a href=”https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents” target=”_blank”>Equality Act 2010</a>.</p>

<p>Jordi Casamitjana, 55, brought a claim against his former employer, the League Against Cruel Sports, alleging that he was unfairly dismissed because of his ethical veganism. As a preliminary question, the ET had to consider whether ethical veganism is a &lsquo;philosophical belief&rsquo; and thus falls within the protected characteristic of religion or belief under the Act.</p>

<p>Ethical vegans not only eat a plant-based diet but also avoid using any products associated with exploitation of animals, such as clothes made from wool or leather.</p>

<p>For a belief to constitute a philosophical belief, it must be genuinely held, be a belief rather than an opinion or viewpoint, concern a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour, attain a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance, be worthy of respect in a democratic society, and not be incompatible with human dignity or in conflict with the fundamental rights of others.</p>

<p>The ET ruled that ethical veganism met the definition of a philosophical belief. The issue of whether Mr Casamitjana&rsquo;s ethical veganism was the reason for his dismissal will be considered at a later date.</p>