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On Friday, a judge in Norwich, U.K. ruled that ethical veganism qualifies as a philosophical belief under Britain’s Equality Act, in a pension-related case filed by ethical vegan Jordi Casamitjana against his former employer, the League Against Cruel Sports.

In late 2018, Casamitjana took his grievance to Britain’s employment tribunal, alleging he was unduly dismissed for raising concerns over the organization’s pension plan. At issue was the plan’s failure to invest in a way that aligned with his personal beliefs against the exploitation of animals, as well as the organization’s mission to campaign against cruelty to animals in sport.

The ruling stated that similar protections from job discrimination should apply to ethical vegans as to people who hold religious beliefs.

Read: Vegan contests firing after alerting colleagues to pension’s problematic investments

The tribunal will hold a subsequent hearing to determine whether Casamitjana was wrongfully dismissed for raising his concerns over the pension plan.

“I am very happy about today’s verdict, not only for my legal team and the hundreds of donors of my Crowdjustice.com page that are allowing me to carry on with my case, but specially for the millions of ethical vegans in the world who may get re-energized by discovering that, at least in the U.K., their deep belief in trying to live a life hurting as fewer sentient beings as possible has been officially recognized as worthy of respect in a democratic society,” said Casamitjana in an email to Benefits Canada.

The League Against Cruel Sports hasn’t commented publicly on the ruling. However, when Casamitjana originally took his case to the employment tribunal, the charity said in a statement that the former employee was dismissed for “gross misconduct” and that it wasn’t related to his veganism.

Read: Faith and fixed income in defined benefit pension investment

“The discussion about veganism being a ‘philosophical belief’ is a thought-provoking one which many of our staff will be interested in,” said a League Against Cruel Sports spokesperson at the time. “However, this debate has absolutely no connection with why Mr. Casamitjana was sacked.

“It’s sad that one of our former employees, who is passionate about protecting animals, is now trying to bring into disrepute a charity which is not only one of the most important pro-animal voices in this country, but also one of the most vegan-friendly employers.”

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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