UK judge rules ethical veganism a protected 'philosophical belief'

Taylor Watson

In vegan news, a U.K. judge ruled Friday that ethical veganism is protected by law from workplace discrimination.

The ruling falls under the U.K.'s Equality Act, which says any "religion or belief" is protected from discrimination. Judge Robin Postle found "ethical veganism" — a practice in which people follow vegan diets and reject any animal exploitation — to be a protected philosophical belief rather than just an opinion or lifestyle choice, per CNN.

The case came about when ethical vegan Jordi Casamitjana was dismissed by his employer, animal welfare charity League Against Cruel Sports, after he raised concerns about the company investing pension money "in companies that experiment on animals," reports CNN. The organization maintains he was released over misconduct, not due to his beliefs.

Casamitjana's lawyer Peter Daly said the second part of the employment tribunal will determine if Casamitjana's dismissal was unlawful. But those at the charity did not argue ethical veganism shouldn't be protected, their lawyer Rhys Wyborn said, they are arguing it is irrelevant to the reason he was dismissed.

Still, the decision that ethical veganism is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act could have major effects on "the workplace, education, transport, and the provision of goods and services," Daly said, per CNN. An employment tribunal ruling doesn't result in binding legal precedent, BBC reports, but employers will have to ensure they do not discriminate against employees for vegan beliefs.

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