The UK-based Vegan Society is issuing guidance to businesses to help them avoid direct or indirect discrimination to vegan employees.

The new guidance – covering everything from the office fridge to corporate events – follows last month’s landmark ruling that ethical veganism qualifies as a philosophical belief.

The case was brought by vegan activist Jordi Casamitjana, who took his former employer – the League Against Cruel Sports – to an employment tribunal for allegedly sacking him after he revealed that the organisation invested its pension funds in companies involved in animal testing (the animal welfare charity says that Casamitjana was sacked for gross misconduct).

At last month’s hearing Judge Robin Postle ruled that ethical vegans should be entitled to similar legal protections in British workplaces as those who hold religious beliefs.

Supporting Veganism in the Workplace: A Guide for Employers says employers should consider:

  • Sending out a ‘dietary requirements’ sheet for catered events, ensuring that vegans have the opportunity to request that appropriate food is provided for them.
  • Ensuring kitchen facilities are acceptable for them to use, for example by keeping utensils and foods clean, providing colour coded equipment and separating food preparation areas.
  • Designating dedicated food storage areas for vegans, such as a shelf in the fridge above non-vegan foods.
  • Ensuring that vegans have access to vegan-friendly clothing or other items, such as synthetic safety boots or a non-leather phone case.
  • Exempting vegans from a requirement to attend corporate events such as horse racing, and team building events that revolve specifically around animal products such as a ‘hog roast’ barbeque.
  • Considering exempting vegans from participating in buying (or signing off on the purchase of) non-vegan products.

• Supporting vegan employees to discuss their pension investment options with a relevant member of staff

Photo: The new guidance says employers should offer vegan employees dedicated shelf space in the office or workplace fridge