Vegan Society launches guidelines following Tribunal ruling that “ethical veganism” is a protected characteristic
Last month we commented on the “landmark” ruling in the case brought by Mr Casamitjana against his former employer, the League Against Cruel Sports, where it was held that ethical veganism qualifies as a philosophical belief for the purposes of the Equality Act.
Since the ruling the Vegan Society has issued guidance to employers to help them avoid direct or indirect discrimination. In the form of a booklet, the Society’s “Supporting Veganism in the Workplace: A guidance employers” provides guidance to businesses on issues such as workwear, the storage of food and drink and occupational pension scheme investments.
Veganism In The Workplace
Some of the headline suggestions for employers include:
- Sending out a ‘dietary requirements’ sheet for catered events, ensuring vegans can request appropriate food
- Designating food storage areas for vegans, for example a shelf in the fridge above non-vegan foods
- Providing milk alternatives for tea and coffee making
- Ensuring vegans have access to vegan-friendly clothing, such as synthetic safety boots
- Supporting vegan employees to discuss their pension investment.
The guidance also suggests providing training to staff to better understand their vegan colleagues and to update equality policies to include considerations around veganism.
Whilst the full hearing in the Casamitjana case is due shortly, it is unlikely that the preliminary finding will change and employers will need to be aware of veganism in the workplace and take steps to accommodate vegan employees.
If you would like to discuss how you can meet with your legal obligations or, make your workplace more vegan-friendly, please contact a member of the Advisory Team on 01274 864999.