Vegetarian or Vegan: Does it make a difference for employment purposes?
It might! There has been a recent case that looked at whether vegetarianism was a protected belief under the Equality Act. Although it is only a Tribunal Case and therefore not binding on other cases, the Conisbee v Crossley Farms Ltd. case is quite interesting.
The Claimant brought a claim of discrimination on the grounds of religion and belief, with the relevant belief being vegetarianism. The tribunal accepted that the Claimant was a vegetarian and had a genuine belief in vegetarianism and animal welfare. However, after much debate it decided that vegetarianism is not capable of amounting to a philosophical belief under the Equality Act 2010. They said that it was not enough merely to have an opinion based on logic.
“The belief must have a similar status or cogency to religious beliefs. Clearly, having a belief relating to an important aspect of human life or behaviour is not enough in itself for it to have a similar status or cogency to a religious belief.”
Later this month a different tribunal will rule on whether ethical veganism is capable of being protected as a philosophical belief although it may depend on the reason the claimant practices veganism. We will have to wait and see.
Posted on 07 Oct 2019