Vegans could dodge 'no jab no job' rules amid 'discrimination' concerns

30 July 2021, 10:11

By Tim Dodd

Ethical vegans may be able to avoid compulsory workplace vaccination says employment law barrister Daniel Barnett, as their 'beliefs amount almost to a religion' so receive legal protections.

It comes amid reports that more than half a million vegans will be exempt from compulsory workplace vaccination as their beliefs are a 'protected characteristic' under employment law.

Daniel Barnett, who hosts LBC's Legal Hour, told Nick Ferrari:

"Well, ethical veganism is a fairly extreme form of veganism. It's one for example where someone wouldn't sit on a seat in a tube train because the seat contains leather.

"The argument is that those who are ethical vegans have some form of protection because their beliefs amount almost to a religion. And as a result, bosses can't discriminate against them by getting them to have a vaccine that's been tested on animals."

Read more: Boris Johnson under pressure to allow double jabbed to escape isolation sooner

Mr Barnett then outlined the counter argument:

"The law says that when someone has a protected characteristic such as ethical veganism, the employer's got to balance the employee's rights against the business' rights, and the business will often have a vested interest in limiting the transmission of the virus and in making sure that the workforce as a whole is vaccinated."

Read more: Nearly 700,000 people 'pinged' by NHS Covid app in a week

Mr Barnett then explained that come autumn when care home staff in England will need to receive two doses of a Covid vaccine, ethical veganism was not listed in the list of possible exemptions.

"If an ethical vegan resigns or says they've been discriminated against they'll bring a tribunal claim," said Mr Barnett.

"The problem for employers is it's risk, it's uncertainty. They don't know who's going to sue them and have a claim in two years time. They don't know how many thousands of pounds will have to be spent on legal fees.

"So many businesses are taking the lower risk approach of not bringing in a compulsory vaccination policy because they just don't want to take the risk of being sued."

Read more: Rule changes to end pingdemic ‘nailed on’ for August 16, PM tells LBC

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