Question of the Month: Vegetarianism
Is vegetarianism a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010?
No, held an employment tribunal in Conisbee v Crossley Farms Ltd.
The Claimant brought a claim of discrimination on the grounds of religion and belief, the relevant belief being vegetarianism. The tribunal accepted that the Claimant was a vegetarian and had a genuine belief in vegetarianism and animal welfare. However, it held that vegetarianism is not capable of amounting to a philosophical belief under the Equality Act 2010. It is not enough merely to have an opinion based on logic.
“The belief must have a similar status or cogency to religious beliefs. Clearly, having a belief relating to an important aspect of human life or behaviour is not enough in itself for it to have a similar status or cogency to a religious belief.”
Later this month a different tribunal will rule on whether ethical veganism is capable of being protected as a philosophical belief.