BEERG: What is a "Protected Belief" Under UK Employment Law?

January 24, 2020

A UK Employment Tribunal has ruled that “ethical veganism” can be a philosophical belief that is protected under the country’s Equality Act, which counts religion or belief as one of its nine “protected characteristics.”

“Ethical veganism” holds that it is morally wrong to harm or use animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.  The belief thus produces behavior that goes well beyond the individual’s diet.

The Employment Tribunal (ET) decision is not necessarily binding in other ET cases.  According to Gemma Taylor at Lewis Silkin LLP, “ETs should judge the claimant’s own belief rather than the general belief in the abstract.”

Ethical veganism being protected produces several areas of impact, including harassment; alternative options for food, leather, and toiletries; pensions; victimization in the case of complaints; and proselytizing.

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