To reduce its environmental impact, property firm Igloo Regeneration has announced its employees will no longer receive expenses for meals which contain meat. Gethin Bennett and Garyn Young consider the legality of this workplace policy, and whether meat-eaters would be protected under the Equality Act 2010.
Employees of Igloo Regeneration will no longer receive expenses for meals which contain meat. This, unsurprisingly, has prompted questions surrounding the legality of this particular workplace policy and whether meat-eaters would be protected under the Equality Act 2010.
For meat-eaters to receive protection, they’d generally have to show that eating meat is a “protected philosophical or religious belief” to succeed in any discrimination claim. Amongst other legal hurdles, they’d need to show that their meat-eating was a genuinely held belief, not just a viewpoint or opinion, and that it represents a substantial aspect of their life and behaviour.
Only last month ethical veganism received protection under the Act, and was considered to be a philosophical belief. The tribunal pointed to the fact that ethical veganism goes far beyond a simple dietary choice and extended to other areas of the individuals life. Last year, a vegetarian failed to make this argument successfully, meaning that it’s unlikely that eating meat would receive the same protection offered by the Equality Act 2010 – particularly given that the tribunals have so far adopted a relatively high hurdle for an opinion to be classed as a protected belief.