Sacked vegan claims discrimination

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Media captionJordi Casamitjana campaigns to encourage others to become vegans

A tribunal is to be asked to decide whether veganism is a “philosophical belief” akin to a religion, in a landmark legal action.

Jordi Casamitjana says he was sacked by the League Against Cruel Sports after disclosing it invested pension funds in firms involved in animal testing.

He claims he was discriminated against, and the tribunal will now decide if veganism should be protected in law.

The League Against Cruel Sports says he was dismissed for gross misconduct.

It denies the sacking was because of his veganism.

Mr Casamitjana says he is an “ethical” vegan.

“Some people merely eat a vegan diet but they don’t care about the environment or the animals, they only care about their health, ” he told the BBC.

“I care about the animals and the environmental issues and my health and everything.

“That’s why I use this word ‘ethical veganism’ because for me veganism is also of the opinion and affects every single aspect of my life.”

Plant-based

Dietary vegans and ethical vegans both eat a plant-based diet.

However, ethical vegans try to exclude all forms of animal exploitation, for instance avoiding wearing or buying garment made from wool or leather, or toiletries from companies that carry out animal testing.

They may refer to “companion animals” rather than “pets”, and will avoid zoos or other environments where they consider animals are exploited.

Mr Casamitjana worked for the animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports and claims that, to his amaze, he detected it was investing its pension funds in companies that be put into practice animal testing.

He says he described this to the attention of his directors.

When nothing changed, he informed other employees and was sacked as a result.

He is now bringing a legal case, claiming he was discriminated against on the basis of his vegan notion.

‘Factually wrong’

In a statement, the League Against Cruel Sports said: “Mr Casamitjana was dismissed from his position because of gross misconduct.

“To link his dismissal with issues pertaining to veganism is factually wrong.

“Mr Casamitjana is seeking to use his veganism as the reason for his dismissal. We emphatically reject this claim.”

Image copyright Jaysee Costa Image caption Mr Casamitjana supports a range of ethical and animal rights causes

However, in a hearing next March, an employment tribunal will, for the first time, determine whether veganism is a “philosophical belief” protected by law.

If the tribunal decides that it is, the discrimination claim will proceed to a full trial.

“Religion or belief” is one of nine “protected characteristics” covered by the Equality Act 2010.

The others, all ranked equally, are 😛 TAGEND age disability gender reassignment wedding and civil partnership pregnancy and maternity race sexuality sex orientation be genuinely held be a belief as to a weighty and substantial facet of human life and behaviour attain a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and important be worthy of respect in a democratic society , not be incompatible with human dignity and not conflict with the fundamental rights of others be a belief , not an sentiment or viewpoint based on the present state of information available Image caption Clashing rights could become “oppressive”, alerts Nick Spencer, of Theos

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