Vegan Wins Discrimination Case as Employer Concedes They “Did Nothing Wrong”
3 March 2020
On 1 March 2020 the League Against Cruel Sports (“LACS”) conceded that: “The only reason for the dismissal of Mr Casamitjana in 2018 was communications to his colleagues in relation to his pension arrangements. Having revisited the issue we now accept that Mr Casamitjana did nothing wrong with such communications, which were motivated by his belief in ethical veganism.” With this statement, recorded in the Consent Judgment issued by the court, LACS accept that Mr Casamitjana should not have been dismissed. A confidential financial settlement has been agreed between the parties to compensate Mr Casamitjana for the financial loss he has suffered as a consequence.
Up until 1 March 2020 LACS had remained adamant that the evidence would show that they had dismissed Mr Casamitjana for gross misconduct and not due to his protected vegan convictions. The evidential hearing on that question began on 24 February and was due to run until 7 March, but after the first few days of evidence LACS appears to have realised that the evidence did not support its position and conceded that they should not have dismissed Mr Casamitjana. As the employer, LACS would have been aware of all of the facts from the very outset, and so why it took them until a week of evidence had been heard to concede that it was unfair can be known only to LACS and their legal advisors.
Mr Casamitjana’s determination and perseverance meant that a preliminary ruling was issued by the Tribunal Judge in his case, confirming that the vegan conviction that it is wrong to use and kill other animals is a protected philosophical belief under the Equality Act. Although LACS had conceded this point the Judge required to apply the test to Mr Casamitjana’s moral philosophy and concluded in a very clear judgment that it was indeed protected. While that ruling does not bind other tribunals or courts, as it was a lower tribunal decision and specific to the facts of the case, nevertheless it is properly viewed as an illustration of the correct application of existing law, and therefore we can expect the same approach to be taken in other cases concerning vegans who reject all forms of animal exploitation.
After what must have been a very difficult two years, we hope that Mr Casamitjana’s success in this case and LACS’ confirmation that he was “a very valued employee of the League…showing a great deal of professionalism, expertise and commitment to the protection of animals” will lead to his securing a fulfilling role with a new employer.
We wrote in more detail about the earlier decision confirming that veganism is protected under the Equality Act here.
For more information on vegan rights see: https://goveganworld.com/vegan-rights/