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Equality Act has no beef with recruitment practices

Nick Evans spoke to Recruiter about the decision in a recent tribunal case which ruled that vegetarian beliefs are not grounds for discrimination.

Recruiters are likely to be successful in any defence against claims they discriminated against a candidate due to their vegetarian beliefs following a recent landmark ruling.

The ruling relates to waiter and barman George Conisbee, who the Eastern Daily Press reports brought a claim against Crossley Farms Ltd, saying he had resigned from his job because of the way he was treated for being vegetarian.

In this case the Norwich tribunal ruled against Conisbee as it did not accept vegetarianism as a protected characteristic under the Equality Act.

However, judge Robin Postle said that in the future, an argument could be made for vegans to be included in the Act as there was “a clear cohesion in vegan belief.”

Commenting on the implications of the case, Melanie Stancliffe, partner at law firm Irwin Mitchell, told Recruiter the ruling means a candidate could not claim they were discriminated against for their vegetarian beliefs.

“I don’t think it’s likely to come up very often but if the person espoused strong views of a particular nature, they wouldn’t be protected by the Equality Act so I think recruiters and clients could say’that candidate is not for us'” Stancliffe said.

“The likelihood is it would be put in the terms of ‘wouldn’t fit with the team’ or whatever and those views at the moment would be seen as not political.”

Nick Evans, partner in the employment team at law firm Fletcher Day, agrees. He told Recruiter: “Deal with the issue sensitively but impress upon candidates that vegetarianism is not ‘legally’ a philosophical belief – and thus not a basis for claiming any form of discrimination.”

This article was written by Graham Simons and first published by Recruiter on 30 September 2019.


For further advice, or to discuss your case, please contact Nick Evans.


The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.