Philosophical beliefs can now be plant-based
On 3 January, a tribunal found for the first time that ethical veganism can be classed as a “philosophical belief”, and so protected by law.
This case was brought about by Jordi Casamitjana, an ex-employee of the League Against Cruel Sports, who claims he was fired due to his ethical veganism. However, the League strongly deny this allegation, stating he was dismissed for gross misconduct, not because of his beliefs.
The aim of this preliminary tribunal hearing was purely to decide whether “ethical veganism” as described by the Claimant is a “philosophical belief” worthy of protection under the Equality Act 2010. The parties will now move on to the next stage of the trial, which will be to rule on the reason for Mr. Casamitjana’s dismissal.
Rhys Wyborn, our employment partner who acted for the League Against Cruel Sports, had this to say on the result:
“Although an interesting point of law, this hearing was preparation for the real crux of the matter: why Jordi Casamitjana was dismissed. In view of its animal welfare value, the League did not contest the issue of whether ethical veganism itself should be a protected belief, with the League maintaining that it’s irrelevant to the core issue around the reason for dismissal. The League now look forward to moving on to the substantive hearing in this matter and to addressing the reason for Mr Casamitjana’s dismissal, which the League maintain was due to his misconduct and was nothing to do with the belief he holds.”
“It may be the first decision of its kind, but being a first instance decision, it is not enough to have a binding effect on other tribunals and each case will depend on its own facts moving forwards. Nevertheless, it could act as an initial gateway for more action of this type and one wonders what will be next in seeking protection as an asserted belief.“
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