Vegans need own shelf in office fridge, guidance claims

19 February 2020, 05:59

The guidance hits on the subject of workplace fridges
The guidance hits on the subject of workplace fridges. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Vegans should be given their own self in the fridge and be given "vegan-friendly" safety clothing according to a new set of guidelines for companies.

The advice was issued by the Vegan Society after a judge ruled in a landmark legal case that followers of a plant-based diet were protected in the workplace by law.

The all-encompassing advice from the charity says vegans should have designating food storage areas, for example," a shelf in the fridge above non-vegan foods."

Those who need to wear a uniform or use safety equipment should be offered vegan-friendly versions such as synthetic safety boots or a non-leather phone case, it says.

The charity suggests they should be allowed to avoid corporate events like horse racing, or team-building events such as barbeques.

The advice also states employers should create a positive atmosphere. “Fostering a general attitude of respect towards vegan employees is key,” the booklet says. “If ‘jokes’ about an employee’s veganism become burdensome, steps should be made to improve this.”

The charity says they are around 600,000 vegans in Britain, compared with 150,000 in 2014.

Matt Turner, of the Vegan Society, said: “It is important that businesses up and down the country take note of these new guidelines and start to include them in their workplace policies and practices as soon as possible."

The guidance also suggests providing training to staff to better understand their vegan colleagues and to update equality policies to include considerations around veganism.

Last month a judge in Norwich ruled "ethical vegans" were protected under equality laws. The landmark legal case was brought by an animal rights activist who claims that he was dismissed as an official at the League Against Cruel Sports over his veganism.

The judge ruled that ethical vegans should be entitled to similar legal protections in British workplaces as those who hold religious beliefs.

In a preliminary hearing, Judge Robin Postle ruled that ethical veganism was protected under the Equality Act, which outlaws discrimination in employment, education, goods and services. He ruled that veganism fit the description of a protected belief, as with religion.

The League Against Cruel Sports, where at least half the staff are believed to be vegetarian or vegan, says that the sacking of Jordi Casamitjana, 55, was for gross misconduct. The full case will be heard this month.

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