Employment Law: Veganism
According to a recent survey of 1000 vegan employees and 1000 employers, almost half of vegan employees have felt discriminated against by their employers. 31 per cent said they had felt harassed at work or treated unfairly due to their veganism. The survey also revealed that almost half of employers did nothing to accommodate their vegan employees. The results suggested that employees were encouraged to keep their views to themselves and to fit in at company functions which had limited menu choices.
In October 2019, an employment tribunal will decide whether ethical veganism can be a philosophical belief under the Equality Act 2010. The overwhelmingly likely answer is yes (whether or not that individual wins any discrimination claim). Negative comments about vegans should be just as socially unacceptable as negative comments about someone’s race or gender.
Even if veganism were not capable of being a philosophical belief, tolerance and respect are integral to a healthy workplace. Veganism is a growing trend, both for philosophical and health reasons. More and more employees in more and more workplaces are choosing a vegan lifestyle. It makes business sense to approach veganism as standard rather than alienate a growing group of potential talent. Don’t wait for the judgment to take any necessary action.