The rise in the number of sole vegan restaurants in Bristol, and across the South West has dramatically risen over the last 3 years and we have all noticed the number of vegan options available in general restaurants has increased significantly. Campaigns such as Veganuary (adopting a vegan diet for the month of January) have become hugely popular as the media keeps telling us of the health and environmental benefits of adopting a vegan or plant-based lifestyle.

However, it’s not just catering establishments that are changing, more and more businesses are making changes to how they operate on a greener level and trying to improve their sustainability factor, offering carbon neutral benefits etc. We’re all aware of the need to start acting to stop the environmental damage that we’ve been inflicting on the world, and we’re noticing that applicants are occasionally starting to ask businesses at interviews about their Environmental Policies which is a sign of a real shift in thinking.

One of our amazing local clients; Content Communications have evolved their business to on which focuses on creating content and communications for businesses who are all carbon conscious. Supporting growth in a “greener, cleaner, healthier and more sustainable way”.

Additionally, local Gloucestershire football club, based in Nailsworth; Forest Green Rovers claim to have the ‘greenest’ football club, with their ethos revolving around sustainability.  Through solar panels, electric vehicle charging points and planning has been put in for a new Eco Park – which aims to be surrounded with hedgerows and trees. Since 2017 Forest Green Rovers committed to only serving vegan foods – which is a big cultural shift from the traditional football food huts; consisting of burgers, hot dogs and chips!

Of course we’re a HR company and couldn’t do a blog without mentioning the case which seems to have caused much excitement across the HR and business press already this month…

Ethical Veganism as a philosophical belief

You’re likely to have seen in the news and various social media platforms, discussing not just the health and environmental benefits of veganism but that a recent tribunal hearing found that Ethical Veganism as a way of life could be a philosophical belief, and therefore a protected characteristic.

So first things first, a dietary vegan and an ethical vegan are different, they do both eat an entirely plant based diet however an ethical vegan adopts a different way of life, excluding all forms of animal exploitation; from clothes made out of leather/wool, not using products tested on animals and items that include animal products at all, and making different choices about their day to day life i.e. traveling to work.

A preliminary hearing was held at the Norwich Employment Tribunal on 3rd Jan 2020, involving a vegan activist, Jordi Casamitjana against his employer; League Against Cruel Sports.  Casamitjana is arguing that he was dismissed unfairly after he disclosed information that the firm invested in a pension fund, which had links to a Company that undertook animal testing.

Casamitjana’s lawyers have placed a case that ethical veganism is a philosophical belief and should therefore be protected under the Equality Act 2010. They have been successful in this part of the case. However, it’s important to note, that this case is still ongoing, and a further ruling will be made to determine whether or not Casamitjana was in fact unfairly dismissed.

Any action to take?

We will continue to review and monitor the case and will update once the outcome has been announced. It is a good reminder that as employers you should be aware and supportive of those that are adopting different lifestyles.  Ensuring if you do have staff that are vegans or who have other dietary requirements that you are able to cater for them fairly, consider team lunch locations carefully.

As always, we are here to support you with any queries you may have, following the outcome to this case, if any changes to our policies are made, we will be in touch with our retainer clients directly to discuss this. In the meantime, feel free to get in touch with us, via either your usual contact or direct to: CitrusHR Consulting, call us on 0844 854 6704 or email us at info@citrushrconsulting.com.