Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
Vet nurse and vegan activist sacked after hiding 'liberated' turkey in uni flat
15 June 2022, 08:25 | Updated: 15 June 2022, 08:38
A vegan activist was sacked from her job as a veterinary nurse after she "liberated" a turkey and kept it in her shared university flat, an employment tribunal has heard.
Listen to this article
Shakira Free Miles, who describes herself as a "liberation activist", rescued Dorothy the turkey and brought her to the hospital where she worked on December 27 2018, the hearing was told.
The bird was then discovered in a police raid on February 6, as officers investigated Ms Miles' alleged involvement in an animal rights group known to take animals from farms and laboratories.
Ms Miles, an award-winning veterinary nurse who was based at an animal hospital in Camden, North London, was suspended and later sacked by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) for breaching its "no pet policy" in its accommodation.
Dorothy the turkey was taken into care by the RSPCA.
The tribunal was told Ms Miles was aware of the no pet policy but "felt she had to do something as otherwise the turkey would have died".
She tried to sue the RVC, saying she had been discriminated against for being an "ethical vegan" and that she had been unfairly dismissed.
She also tried to sue them for breach of contract.
The tribunal found none of her claims were well-founded.
The judgement said the hospital was aware Ms Miles' ethical veganism and "supported her to the extent that it could, such as by telling the other occupants in the flat not to put animal products in the fridge that she used".
It said there was not "a sufficiently close and direct nexus between her actions and the underlying belief", meaning it was not 'philosophical belief discrimination' to sack her as a result of her actions.
It also found the hospital had acted "reasonably", and that the misconduct it had found was "sufficient reason" for dismissing Ms Miles.
Such dismissal without notice, the tribunal found, was not a breach of contract.