Is veganism a philosophical belief and therefore a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010? The Employment Judge in Casamitjana Costa v League Against Cruel Sports said yes, it is.
We look closer at this case and how it may affect you and your business.
How has this case impacted ethical veganism and employment law? Here, the employee had a fundamental belief in ethical veganism, which meant it affected all of his day-to-day decisions. Practically, this meant he considered his belief in veganism when making all of his decisions, e.g. which transport he should take, the entertainment he should participate in, his career options as well as the fact he also used vegan friendly electricity, and of course his diet. He did not only follow a vegan diet, but he followed a moral vegan philosophy.
The employee raised a complaint with his employer about his pension scheme and specifically the investment of his pension fund in companies involved in animal testing. He then complained that he had been unfairly disciplined and ultimately dismissed for complaining about the pension scheme.
Why is this (and other discrimination cases) important and what does it mean for you as an employer?
For the purposes of discrimination legislation, an employer is likely to be liable for any unlawful discrimination by an employed worker or acts or omissions. Therefore, it is important an employer can evidence it has done everything possible to prevent discriminatory behaviour. Employers should encourage an appropriate workplace culture and set clear standards of what conduct is and is not acceptable. Policies are important but you won’t be able to defend claims without successfully training your staff too so get in touch if you need help with policies or sorting out some remote or in-person training for your staff.
Can Loch Associates Group help?
If you need assistance on discrimination legislation, guidance on ethical veganism and employment law, or making sure your policies and contracts are up to scratch, then get in touch with our team.