A landmark legal hearing begins in Norwich on Friday, with a panel to decide whether veganism is a “philosophical or religious belief” and therefore protected by law.
Jordi Casamitjana told Vegan Life magazine he was “shocked” when he was sacked by League Against Cruel Sports after raising concerns that his pension fund was invested in companies involved in animal experimentation.
He claims he was unfairly disciplined for making this disclosure and that the decision to fire him was due to his philosophical belief in ethical veganism.
Diet vegans and ethical vegans both have a plant-based diet, but ethical vegans also try to exclude all forms of animal exploitation, including not wearing woolen or leather clothing and do not use products tested on animals.
Lawyers for Mr Casamitjana have said ethical veganism passes the required tests to be a philosophical or religious belief, which would mean it is protected under the Equality Act of 2010.
For a belief to be protected under the law, it must meet a series of criteria, including being worthy of respect in a democratic society, not being incompatible with human dignity and not being in conflict with fundamental rights. of others.
Slater and Gordon’s lawyer Peter Daly, who represents Mr Casamitjana, described ethical veganism as “a philosophical belief held by a significant portion of the population in the UK and around the world”.
“This case, if successful, will establish that belief entitles ethical vegans to protection from discrimination. The dossier we have prepared shows how belief in principle and how Jordi’s particular interpretations on this matter meet the required legal test, ”Daly said in a statement.
In a statement to the BBC, he said: “The League Against Cruel Sports is an inclusive employer, and since this is a hearing to decide whether veganism should be a protected status, something the league does not. not dispute, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.
Mr Casamitjana told Vegan Life: “If I win this case, it will ensure the first judgment in Europe declaring that ethical vegans are legally protected from discrimination because of our beliefs. “
The hearing opens Friday after a day of administration on Thursday.