Securing protection from discrimination for Ethical Vegans

by Jordi Casamitjana

Securing protection from discrimination for Ethical Vegans

by Jordi Casamitjana
Jordi Casamitjana
Case Owner
Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for 26 years, I am a vegan Zoologist specialised in animal behaviour, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for decades.
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Jordi Casamitjana
Case Owner
Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for 26 years, I am a vegan Zoologist specialised in animal behaviour, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for decades.
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Latest: Oct. 14, 2019

Urgent Update

We have today received notice from the Tribunal that the hearing set to go ahead this week  (17-18 October 2019) has been postponed because of a lack of judges.  We are in the process of ...

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Who am I? 

Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for 26 years, I am a vegan Zoologist specialised in animal behaviour, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for decades.

I am crowdfunding for a hearing at the Employment Tribunal to take place on 17 and 18 October 2019 to determine the sole question of whether Ethical Veganism is a protected philosophical belief under the UK’s Equality Act 2010.  If successful, the case will secure the first judgment in Europe that Ethical Vegans are legally protected from discrimination because of our beliefs. 


My new page

This page is a continuation of my previous crowdfunding page here.  The reason for the new page is that my solicitor, Peter Daly, has moved firms from Bindmans LLP to Slater and Gordon.  The rules of the crowdjustice website mean that once a campaign has been opened, it is assigned to a law firm and cannot be reassigned. For that reason I have had to start a fresh page which is assigned to Slater and Gordon. 

Therefore, please note, that in addition of whatever amount I will managed to raise for my case on this webpage, we should add £8,710, which is what I raised with my previous page.  


Case Background 

The litigation is part of a wider discrimination and whistleblowing claim I am bringing against one of my former employers (the League Against Cruel Sports), which arouse when I was dismissed in April 2018 after having blown the whistle about such employer’s pension fund being invested in companies that experiment on animals.  The details of that (as far as I am able to share them, with litigation still going on) can be found on my previous CrowdJustice page.  

But the hearing on 17 and 18 October is not contested by the League Against Cruel Sports, who have now formally conceded that Ethical Veganism is a protected philosophical belief under the Equality Act 2010.

What we want from the hearing is a clear and reasoned written judgment explaining why Ethical Veganism meets the legal tests for a protected philosophical belief.  If we get this, it will mean that other ethical vegans – potentially in other countries too – will be able to refer to that judgment in situations where they feel discriminated against for being an ethical vegan – at work, and in the provision of goods and services – to show that the UK legal system has already considered and ruled on this question.

This is a complex task.  Despite being uncontested, we still need to advance a strong and coherent case to convince the Tribunal.  As can probably be appreciated, the recognition of a “new” protected philosophical belief is not something that a Tribunal will do lightly.  Our case needs to be as comprehensive as possible. This means compiling over a thousand pages of evidence, and preparing statements for witnesses which explains and puts that documentary into context.  Our witnesses include a vegan legal expert and an Oxford University professor of moral philosophy. 


How much am I raising and why? 

This work is legally complex and time-intensive, and because I feel the weight of responsibility that this important landmark case carries, this is why I have engaged an expert legal team (which implies a considerable cost in legal fees, estimated so far to £50,000 for the entire case, which is my fundraising target). 

My solicitor, Peter Daly, and my barrister, Chris Milsom, are working very hard to get the result we want and I am very happy with their efforts. We are confident of success. But success is never guaranteed in any litigation, and there is still much to do.

You will be able to see the work that is going into the case: we have the permission of the Tribunal to publish online all of the material being used at the hearing, including our bundle of evidence, the witness statements, the pleadings in the case, and the legal submissions made by the barristers. 

After the hearing in October, my discrimination and whistleblowing case will continue in February 2020, but what is important to notice is that if in October the Tribunal rules that veganism is indeed a protected philosophical belief, this ruling will stay regardless the outcome of my February hearings.

The case has already made headlines around the world.  If we succeed, it will make many more, and it will give a fresh legal protection to hundreds of thousands of people in the UK. Please give me your support by donating to  my case and by spreading this page as wide as possible.

Thank you very much!


Q&A:

What happens if the funds you raise on Crowdjustice exceed your legal costs for the October hearing?

In that scenario, we would apply the costs towards any remaining stages of the proceedings.  This might include any appeals we bring if we are unsuccessful (or any appeals we need to defend if we are successful) or on the remainder of my discrimination and whistleblowing claim against the League Against Cruel Sports.

If, at the end of all of the litigation, there are still funds left over, these will be donated to another case on the Crowdjustice platform aimed to improve animal rights.  If no such claim is being funded, the money will go to the Access to Justice Foundation, the charity used by Crowdjustice in situations where a case concludes with funding left over. 

I will never personally get any money donated on this page, and it will only be used to pay lawyers for work they have done on my behalf.

Will the Judgment set a binding precedent?

Judgments in the Employment Tribunal are not binding authorities, but they are persuasive.  What tends to happen is that when Tribunals have issued judgments which recognise philosophical beliefs, those judgments tend to have been followed by other courts and tribunals subsequently. This means that, if we are successful, it is very likely that ethical veganism will effectively be established in law as a protected philosophical belief. If there is an appeal brought in my case (either by us if we lose, or the League Against Cruel Sports if we win), this would be to the Employment Appeal Tribunal, which in this case is a court of binding precedent.

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Update 2

Jordi Casamitjana

Oct. 14, 2019

Urgent Update

We have today received notice from the Tribunal that the hearing set to go ahead this week  (17-18 October 2019) has been postponed because of a lack of judges.  We are in the process of trying to lift the postponement or fix another date as soon as possible.  This is obviously hugely disappointing and frustrating.  As soon as I have more information I will share this with you.

Update 1

Jordi Casamitjana

Oct. 3, 2019

Pre-hearing on veganism just in a couple of weeks time

The pre-hearing at the Norwich Employment Tribunal to determine whether ethical veganism is a protected philosophical belief under the Equality Act 2010 is just in a couple of weeks time (17th-18th October 2019, but only the 18th is a public hearing), and so far everything seems on track.

Also, the Vegan Life Magazine has published a feature article about me, which may be useful to those that may be thinking in donating to my case but have not decided yet: https://www.veganlifemag.com/who-is-jordi-casamitjana/ . By reading it, you will be able to know more about who I am.

If you have already donated it may be useful you sent this article, together with this crowdjustice page, to anyone you think may also want to contribute.

Thanks for all your help.

Jordi

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