Ethical vegans may be exempt from being forced by their employers to be vaccinated because their lifestyle beliefs are protected by law, a legal firm has claimed.
Last year, a judge presiding over an employment tribunal ruled that ethical veganism — where a vegan avoids all animals products, products that used animals in testing, or services associated with animal exploitation — was a “philosophical belief”, making it a protected characteristic like race, religion, or sexuality, with its adherents covered under the Equality Act 2010.
Referencing the case, a spokesman from law firm Lewis Silkin said, according to The Telegraph: “Some ethical vegans may disagree with vaccinations on the basis that they will inevitably have been tested on animals. Ethical veganism has previously been found by an [employment tribunal] to amount to a belief, capable of being protected.”
The remarks come weeks after the government passed legislation to force all care home staff to be vaccinated against the Chinese coronavirus. Silkie Carlo, the director of the privacy and civil liberties pressure group Big Brother Watch, warned that the passing of the law could embolden employers to make similar demands, leaving “millions” of employers to face a choice between a jab and their job.
Some employers have been considering introducing mandatory vaccines for several months, including the anti-Brexit Charlie Mullins of Pimlico Plumbers, who vowed in January to impose a “no vaccine, no job” rule.
Mr Mullins is not alone, however, according to a recent poll by the British Chambers of Commerce of large businesses employing more than 50 people.
Around one-third of large businesses said they were considering introducing vaccine demands, with eight per cent saying they would “likely” do so in the future. Nearly one in ten (nine per cent) said they already had required employees to prove their vaccination status.