British court rules that ethical veganism is a “philosophical belief”

Yvonne O'Halloran

A judge has ruled this week that ethical vegans are entitled to similar protection in the workplace as those holding religious beliefs after a man claimed he had been unfairly dismissed from his job. The ruling was passed in a case involving Jordi Casmitjana who worked for the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS), an animal welfare charity, after raising concerns with his work colleagues that’s its pension fund invested in companies involving animal testing.

Mr Casamitjana says when he drew his bosses’ attention to the pension fund investments, they did nothing so he informed colleagues and was sacked as a result.

Under the Equality Act, which was passed in 2010, individuals practicing a religion or holding other belief systems are protected from discrimination in the workplace, if those beliefs are compatible with human dignity and don’t conflict with the fundamental rights of others.

Casmitjana said he was “extremely happy with the outcome”. “This is a positive belief, it’s not a negative belief. And therefore a positive belief is bound to be protected.”

According to, there are five types of veganism: ethical, plant-based, raw, high carb low fat (HCLF) and environmentally conscious. They define ethical veganism as follows:

 Perhaps the most common and unifying reason that people decide to go vegan is in the pursuit of a more caring, compassionate lifestyle. Vegans believe in ending the exploitation of animals, which is why veganism often expands into lifestyle choices such as avoiding cosmetics with animal ingredients, or that are tested on animals, wearing wool, silk and leather, or visiting zoos and aquariums.

judge Robin Postle ruled that ethical veganism qualifies as a philosophical belief under the Equality Act 2010 by satisfying several tests – including that it is worthy of respect in a democratic society, not incompatible with human dignity and not conflicting with the fundamental rights of others.

At the tribunal in Norwich on Friday, the judge said in his ruling that ethical veganism was “important” and “worthy” of respect in a democratic society.

He said: “I am satisfied overwhelmingly that ethical veganism does constitute a philosophical belief.” 

The ruling means that ethical vegans are entitled to protection from discrimination. Judge Postle’s ruling didn’t determine whether Mr. Casamitjana was dismissed because of his veganism. The tribunal is expected to address that issue in a hearing scheduled for late February.





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