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The Vegan Society estimated that there were 600,000 vegans in Great Britain in 2018 – up from 150,000 in 2014. That represents 1.6 percent of the population.
Jordi Casamitjana describes himself as an ethical vegan to distinguish himself from those who eat a vegan diet only as a lifestyle choice. He told the BBC in an interview last year that for him veganism is a belief that affects every single aspect of his life.
Mr Casamitjana was dismissed by his employer (an animal welfare charity) for what it alleges was gross misconduct. Mr Casamitjana alleges that he was discriminated against on the ground of religion or belief because of his veganism.
An Employment Tribunal pre-hearing is scheduled for October this year to rule on whether ethical veganism is a philosophical belief that amounts to a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. For a philosophical belief to be protected under the Act it must:
If the Employment Tribunal decides that ethical veganism is a protected characteristic, then that may have very significant implications for employers.
A survey of 1,000 vegan employees and 1,000 employers conducted by a firm of employment solicitors suggests that:
So, think seriously about this and how as an employer you would deal with an employee making derogatory remarks about a vegan colleague or what steps you could take to accommodate vegans in your workplace. Afterall, fairness, acceptance and inclusion should sit at the heart of every business and you would not put up with derogatory comments about someone’s race, gender or sexual orientation.
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