Guidance for offices to be more vegan friendly following tribunal

Following the legal case in January 2020, which deemed ethical veganism as a “philosophical belief”, a society has issued advice to employers as to how their businesses can avoid such discrimination cases.

Ethical veganism is a “philosophical belief” and is therefore protected by law, specifically the Equality Act 2010.

Jordi Casamitjana, who was sacked by the League Against Cruel Sports, as he claims due to his ethical veganism was “really, really satisfied” when he heard the judge’s ruling on ethical veganism.

Mr Casamitjana was let go from the League Against Cruel Sports after raising concerns that its pension fund invested in companies that tested on animals. As this did not seem to spark his bosses’ attention, he then told other colleagues and was then sacked.  The company claim he was fired for gross misconduct.

The Vegan Society guidance is as follows:

  • Sending out a ‘dietary requirements’ sheet for catered events, ensuring vegans can request appropriate food.
  • Designating food storage areas for vegans, for example, a shelf in the fridge above non-vegan foods.
  • Providing milk alternatives for tea and coffee making.
  • Ensuring vegans have access to vegan-friendly clothing, such as synthetic safety boots.
  • Exempting vegans from attending corporate events such as horse racing or barbeques.
  • Exempting vegans from participating in signing off the purchase of non-vegan products.
  • Supporting vegan employees to discuss their pension investment.

 

Matt Turner, the Vegan Society’s spokesperson, said:

This advice to employers has been produced by the Society’s International Rights Network, which is chaired by our legal expert, Dr Jeanette Rowley, who was involved with the case and gave evidence at the tribunal. It’s important that businesses up and down the country take note of these new guidelines and start to include them in their workplace policies and practices as soon as possible.

This ruling and the protection it confirms for ethical vegans are long overdue. The Vegan Society is happy to support any company that wants to take steps to improve life in the workplace for the hundreds of thousands of vegans in the UK.

The 1st November is World Vegan Day and last year, research from Indeed found the number of job postings with the word ‘vegan’ in its title has risen by 284 per cent since 2016 and adverts with the word ‘vegan’ in the job description has increased by 276 per cent since 2017.