According to a recent survey of 1000 vegan employees and 1000 employers, almost half of vegan employees have felt discriminated against by their employers. 31 per cent said they had felt harassed at work or treated unfairly due to their veganism.
Accommodating vegans in the workplace
The survey also revealed that almost half of employers did nothing to accommodate their vegan employees. The results suggested that employees were encouraged to keep their views to themselves and to fit in at company functions which had limited menu choices.
Ethical Veganism and the Equality Act 2010
Next month, an employment tribunal will decide whether ethical veganism can be a philosophical belief under the Equality Act 2010. The overwhelmingly likely answer is yes (whether or not that individual wins any discrimination claim). Negative comments about vegans should be just as socially unacceptable as negative comments about someone's race or gender.
The growing number of vegans
Even if veganism were not capable of being a philosophical belief, tolerance and respect are integral to a healthy workplace. Veganism is a growing trend, both for philosophical and health reasons. More and more employees in more and more workplaces are choosing a vegan lifestyle.
According to the Vegan Society, the number of vegans has quadrupled since 2014. There are now over 600,000 vegans in Great Britain.
Kate Fretten, Employment Partner says “Veganism looks set to continue its extraordinary growth in popularity. It is worth taking a critical look at your working environment, practices and contracts to ensure any vegans feel accepted and engaged.”
At Frettens, all of our solicitors offer a free initial meeting or chat on the phone to answer your questions. If this article raises issues for you or your business, please call us on 01202 499255 Kate or Paul will be happy to discuss it with you.