A news story today questions whether Ethical Veganism is a philosophical belief akin to religion and should be protected by law; https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-46385597
The Equality Act 2010 protects individuals from discrimination in the workplace, in education, accessing services and more. Discrimination occurs when an individual is treated less favourably because of a protected characteristic. These can include disability, age, race, religion, belief, and sex.
This case involves an employee arguing that he has been treated less favourably because of his belief in “ethical veganism”. This raises an interesting question about how far the concept of “philosophical belief” can be stretched under the Equality Act.
To be considered a “philosophical belief” it must be genuinely held, be more than an opinion, be serious and apply to an important aspect of human life or behaviour. It must also be capable of being respected in a democratic society.
In previous cases, beliefs in the importance of public service broadcasting and the existence of climate change have been put to the test by the Courts.
It’s not always obvious what can be covered by the Equality Act. For advice surrounding discrimination claims speak to our expert solicitors. For more information for employees see here or for businesses see here.