An employment hearing between animal-welfare organization League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) and former employee Jordi Casamitjana will be the first case in Britain to decide if ethical veganism is a philosophical belief that should be afforded the same discrimination protections as religion. Casamitjana, a long-time vegan, alleges he was fired in April for “gross misconduct” after he discovered and informed his colleagues that the LACS’s employee pension fund was invested in companies involved in animal testing—despite being told by management not to communicate with staff about it. Although LACS says Casamitjana’s dismissal has no connection to his raising concerns about the pension, Casamitjana is moving forward with an employment tribunal hearing which has been set for March 13–14, 2019. The hearing will determine whether ethical veganism can be protected by the country’s discrimination legislation, and a subsequent hearing will decide if Casamitjana was discriminated against. Britain’s Equality Act defines “religion or belief” as one of the nine “protected characteristics,” which include race, sex, pregnancy, and maternity, making it unlawful for employers to discriminate on those grounds. Casamitjana’s law firm, Bindmans LLP, described the case as “landmark” and believes ethical veganism will meet the requirements needed to become a philosophical belief. “If successful, the case will protect ethical vegans from discrimination on the grounds of their belief,” Bindmans LLP told media outlet CNN.
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