Bidding to make veganism a religious belief
An “ethical vegan” who has been fired from his job tries to protect his beliefs under equality law in a landmark legal hearing.
Jordi Casamitjana said he was sacked by the League Against Cruel Sports after raising concerns that his pension fund was being invested in companies involved in animal testing.
He claims he was unfairly punished for making this disclosure and that the decision to fire him was because of his philosophical belief in ethical veganism.
What is ethical veganism?
Dietary vegan and ethical vegan both eat plant-based diets, but ethical vegans also try to exclude any form of animal exploitation, for example by not wearing woolen or leather clothing and not using products tested on them. animals.
Lawyers for Mr Casamitjana have said ethical veganism passes the required tests for it 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.
How would he be protected?
Slater and Gordon’s lawyer Peter Daly, who represents Mr Casamitjana, said: “Ethical veganism is 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 case we have prepared shows how belief in principle and how Jordi’s particular interpretations on this matter pass the required legal test.”
When Mr Casamitjana initially brought the case, which will be heard in Norwich, he said the hearing was not primarily about his sacking but about establishing ethical veganism as a philosophical belief.
“Although the way I was fired was extremely painful for me, something good could come out of it if I am able to establish this valuable protection for all ethical vegans,” he said. .
“If we are successful at this hearing, then we will proceed to a hearing on the details of my termination.”
The League Against Cruel Sports said it had sacked Mr. Casamitjana for “serious misconduct”.
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.