Should ‘Veganism’ be protected by law? | Hudson McKenzie

Should ‘Veganism’ be protected by law?

Next year, the UK law courts shall decide whether ‘Veganism’ is a religion or belief that should be protected by law – so, should it be?

Within the Equality Act 2010, there are nine protected characteristics that are protected by law, which consists of “religion or belief”. Therefore, if an employer is found to discriminate against an employee on the basis of one of the protected characteristics such as “religion or belief” then this shall be determined as an unlawful act.

Recently, an employee claimed unfair dismissal on the grounds of discrimination, in which the employee in question believes that he was discriminated against due to his Vegan beliefs. Thus, for the case to follow through an employment tribunal next year, the court must ultimately decide whether ‘Veganism’ is a philosophical belief that must be protected by law, so as to be treated as a means for discrimination.

If the court decides that ‘Veganism’ is a belief that should be protected by law, then this shall be a historical moment as a landmark case for the recognition of the Vegan lifestyle worldwide.

However, for ‘Veganism’ to succeed as being recognised as a protected belief by law, it must be established as having the following attributes:

  • A belief that holds specific ‘weight’ and ‘influence’ towards human life and behaviour
  • Have a substantial amount of importance as a belief
  • Have a status that can be respected within a ‘democratic’ society
  • Not conflict with the ‘fundamental’ rights of others
  • Be a genuine belief that is genuinely held, as opposed to a mere opinion or viewpoint.

With approximately six hundred thousand ‘Vegans’ in Britain alone, the approval of ‘Veganism’ as a philosophical belief could also increase the rise of the Vegan lifestyle generally, which could create vast changes to society overall.

However Vegans shall have to wait until March 2019, just before the ever-impending Brexit, to find out the decision.

If you would like to discuss this article further or have any general legal enquiries, please contact one of our highly qualified solicitors on 020 3318 5794 or via email at