UK man wants veganism to have same legal protection as religion

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 5 December 2018, 7:05a.m.
Ethical veganism means someone is vegan for ethical reasons not just for dietary reason or allergies.

A British man is calling for veganism to have the same legal protection as religion.

Jordi Casamitjana says he was fired for being a vegan and is going to court in March to prove it, however, his employer disputes that, saying his dismissal was for gross misconduct after he disclosed the company invested in firms involved in animal testing.

Casamitjana told Kate Hawkesby if you allow people to talk about religion but not veganism, then vegans are being discriminated against.

"If you sack people for being vegan but you can't sack someone for religious then vegans are being discriminated against. It's all about what's already being protected and realising vegans are not different and don't deserve less."

He said veganism is a philosophical belief just like religion.

"From all possible beliefs that you can tie with the Equality Act, which is the law in question, I think the philosophical belief is the strongest [for vegans]."

"There are certain conditions that you need to prove in order to be accepted as part of the Equality Act and it's five or six and I am sure that ethical veganism does fulfil them."

Ethical veganism means someone is vegan for ethical reasons not just for dietary reason or allergies, he said.

"I use this term ethical vegan to distinguish between people that just have a vegan diet and not have any beliefs associated with it, such as people who are vegan just for health reasons. But  many other vegans, who are vegan for ethical reason, these are the type we would want protected."

Casamitjana is currently in mediation with his employer and he insists he was discriminated against, despite his employer denying his allegation.

"In any case of discrimination the employer will always deny it until the judge decides and that's what I want. I want a judge to listen to both sides, get the evidence and then decide."

"We start with the hearing which will only deal with whether ethical veganism should be protected or not, not about the merits of whether I was discriminated against, so that's the first step."

He said this is about protecting ethical vegans from abuse and discrimination.

"An example of this discrimination is people not allowing you to express your beliefs. The whole point of discrimination is about comparing what you allow some people but not other people."

"If you allow people to talk about religion but not about veganism then vegans are being discriminated against. If you sack people for being vegan but not for being religious then vegans are being discriminated against." 

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