Veganism in the workplace
Over 500,000 people take part in Veganuary each year. With the changing views on animal rights and welfare, it is more important than ever that companies are mindful of veganism.
It has been highlighted in an employment tribunal that ethical veganism should be protected under discrimination law. This is a ruling that could have consequences on employer’s who don’t recognise the importance of people’s ethical choices.
The court stated that ethical veganism is a philosophical belief and therefore should be protected under the Equality Act 2010. For a belief to be protected it must be ‘worthy of respect in a democratic society’, ‘compatible with human dignity’ and ‘not conflict with the rights of others.’
As the court recognised ethical veganism as a protected characteristic it could have potentially detrimental effects on employment and the workplace.
What is ethical veganism:
An ethical vegan is someone who follows a plant-based diet and also adopts veganism in everyday life. An ethical vegan opposes to the use of animals for any purpose. This includes wearing clothes made from animals and using products tested on animals.
How can you ensure you’re not discriminating against ethical veganism in the workplace?
- You need to understand veganism, if you don’t understand what it is or why people choose to follow a vegan lifestyle then you should read about it.
- If you provide food and drink in the office, it is a good idea to ensure there are vegan options available. For instance, if you have coffee and tea, provide alternative milk such as almond milk.
- Respect vegan employee’s – don’t disrespect or joke about their beliefs, the same way you wouldn’t mock someone who is Christian or Muslim.
- Provide training to employee’s who don’t have knowledge on veganism.
- Take appropriate action against any employee who treats any vegan employee unfairly because they’re vegan.