Veganism in the workplace

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In January 2020, an employment tribunal confirmed that veganism comes within the scope of legal protection under the 2010 Equality Act – this therefore places a legal obligation upon employers to ensure that they do everything they can to avoid discriminating, either directly or indirectly, against vegans in the workplace.

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination on several grounds called protected characteristics. Under the Equality Act, it is unlawful to discriminate against someone because of age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, sex and sexual orientation and, importantly, religion or philosophical belief - with the most recent court ruling stating that ethical veganism satisfies the legal tests for it to be deemed a philosophical belief.

Employers are therefore responsible for ensuring the following:

  • Creating a positive atmosphere.
  • Training staff on the principles of the Equality Act 2010, as well as the organisation's specific Equality and Diversity policy.
  • Reassuring employees that they will be taken seriously if they have a specific need or wish to raise a complaint.
  • Taking appropriate and prompt action if they’re aware that a vegan is being subject to unfair treatment.
  • Making use of vegan knowledge.

To support this, The Vegan Society offers various resources to help employers better understand veganism and the needs of vegans:

 

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