We reported in our last newsletter that “vegetarianism” was not considered by a Tribunal to be a protected belief. However in the recent case of Casamitjana v The League Against Cruel Sports, the Tribunal held that “ethical veganism” comprised a philosophical belief, meaning that individuals could issue discrimination claims for less favourable treatment related to a belief in “ethical veganism”.
In this case, the employee was not merely a dietary vegan but adopted a lifestyle which was fully committed to “ethical veganism”. For example, he tried to avoid sitting on leather seats or holding leather straps, he participated in animal protection marches and he would avoid social gatherings if the food served was non-vegan.
Whilst at first glance it appears that a belief in “veganism” will be protected, our view is that this will still be the exception. An individual would need to be able to demonstrate that they are almost entirely committed to veganism in all aspects of their everyday life and have not simply adopted a vegan diet for say, nutritional reasons.