A vegan claims he was fired by an animal welfare charity for his ethical beliefs.
According to Jordi Casamitjana, he was sacked by the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS), after revealing it invested pension funds in firms involved in animal testing. LACS says it dismissed Casamitjana for gross misconduct.
In a legal action described as 'landmark', a tribunal in March will now decide if veganism should be protected in law. If it decides it should, a full trial will ensue.
The basis of Casamitjana's case is that he discovered LACS was investing pension funds in animal testing companies. He says his managers did nothing when he brought it to their attention, so he told co-workers and was fired.
He says the firing was discrimination for being vegan. Under law, employer must not treat an employee less favorably on the grounds of religion or belief, one of nine protected characteristics the Equality Act 2010 covers (which include race, sex, and age among others).
"If we are successful, we will achieve a judgment which formally recognizes the protected status of ethical veganism and which could then be used as the basis to combat discrimination against vegans in employment, in the provision of goods and services, and in education" Casamitjana's solicitor, Peter Daly, of Bindmans LLP, sai.
"This is therefore a landmark case."
Casamitjana said: "It is important for all the vegans to know that if they want to talk about veganism, they are protected and no-one will say 'Shut up'.
"It is important that the law protects vegans."
He added that he has been discriminated against many times on the basis of his veganism.
Reject this claim
"Mr. Casamitjana was dismissed from his position because of gross misconduct," the League Against Cruel Sports said in a statement.
"To link his dismissal with issues pertaining to veganism is factually wrong.
"Mr Casamitjana is seeking to use his veganism as the reason for his dismissal. We emphatically reject this claim."