An ethical vegan who made headlines due to taking on his former employer in a tribunal case has settled the case – branding it a ‘victory for animal protection’.
Jordi Casamitjana was working for the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) as its head of policy and research when he discovered it was investing its pension funds into companies including AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline – pharmaceutical firms which test on animals, and oil company Royal Dutch Shell.
Casamitjana told the tribunal that he asked for his personal contributions to be stopped in January 2017, and LACS said this would be arranged. However, by October, he discovered that his contributions had not been stopped, and he had personally contributed £1,766.
At this point, he alerted his colleagues, saying ‘ethical vegans should promote ethical consumption in others’. As a result, he was dismissed on the grounds of ‘gross misconduct’.
The case was settled today at Watford Tribunal Centre, with the LACS conceding that Casamitjana had done ‘nothing wrong with such communications, which were motivated by his belief in ethical veganism’.
‘A great victory for all ethical vegans’
“This has been a great victory for all ethical vegans and animal protection,” Casamitjana said speaking after the settlement.
“After nearly two years of litigation against the League Against Cruel Sports, I am extremely happy with the conclusion that we have secured.
“The case has established that ethical vegans are protected from discrimination, and I have received the acknowledgment I sought that my dismissal was based on my ethical veganism, and was not justified or justifiable.”
In a statement, Casamitjana said that LACS’ auto-enroll pension arrangements have been changed, making them ethical.
‘Very valued employee’
The LACS released a statement describing Casamitjana as a ‘very valued employee’ who showed ‘professionalism, expertise and commitment’ when it came to protecting animals.
“The only reason for the dismissal of Mr. Casamitjana in 2018 was his communications to his colleagues in relation to our pension arrangements,” they added.
“Having revisited the issue, we now accept that Mr. Casamitjana did nothing wrong with such communications, which were motivated by his belief in ethical veganism.
“We are grateful to Mr. Casamitjana for having raised the issue of pensions to us, which allowed us to change our default pension fund to an ethical one closer to our values.”
This settlement follows a landmark ruling in January that a philosophical belief, and therefore a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010.