Can Safeguarding Against Contaminating Allergy Sufferers with their Allergen be an Ethical Belief?

By Octavia Fineman

4th January, 2020

Yesterday, on the 3rd January 2020 Judge Robin Postle ruled in an Employment Tribunal that veganism is a protected belief in law. 

 

The ruling was made due to Jordi Casamijitana claiming he was dismissed from his employment unfairly.  He believes that he was unfairly dismissed because he argued that the pension fund of the company invested in companies which were involved with animal testing.

 

However, the ruling did not find in favour that Mr Jordi Casamijitana was unfairly dismissed, but brought attention to another aspect, and that is, veganism is a protected belief in law.  The judge ruled that veganism belief is protected under the Equality Act 2010.  As a result, people who follow a vegan lifestyle will be protected in law from discrimination.  Discrimination will not be applied to them in places such as the workplace, education, transport and the provision of services.   In an article published in The Daily Telegraph today, 4th January, it even mentioned that companies may have to dispose of leather furniture if their employee is offended, and even the presence of guide dogs may have to be reviewed.

 

So this leads me to suggest, may safeguarding allergy sufferers against their food allergens be an ethical belief? For a belief to be protected it must meet the following tests:

  • Is it worthy in a democratic society?

  • Is it not incompatible with human dignity?

  • It does not conflict with fundamental rights of others?

As this belief will fulfil the tests to meet the requirements for a belief to be protected in law, surely this means that allergy sufferers will be safeguarded against discrimination in the outside environment.

 

If we were to succeed at making this a belief it will mean that allergy sufferers will be safe from anaphylaxis in public transportation, such as train carriages and buses, it will also mean that an employer cannot offer a job to another candidate because they do not have food allergens and it will also mean that school children, and other students, will be protected in a classroom environment.  No longer will parents fear for their child’s wellbeing when they drop them off at the school gates! Moreover, no more sulky passengers on board an aeroplane who have to refrain from eating nuts for a flight duration!

 

We shall have to wait and see how the vegan belief unfolds, but I sincerely believe this to be a hugely positive step and development for food allergy sufferers!  2020 is already looking great!

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