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Kady Reilly, a vegan worker at the fast-food sandwich chain Subway, has won £13,000 in compensation at an employment tribunal after her line manager Himanshu Lahar waved meat in her face and served non-vegan cheese to vegan customers. In August 2020, Miss Reilly began working at the Subway in a petrol station in the Bridgeton area of Glasgow, Scotland, but soon later she complained to RT Management Bridgeton Limited, which owned the franchise, about her boss’ behaviour. She said that Mr Lahar had served vegan customers dairy cheese when they ran out of vegan cheese, left food out, refused to provide sanitary facilities, and would wave meat in her face and tell her to “eat like a man, walk like a bull.” However, when her complaints were ignored, she reported them to Environmental Health and was sacked shortly after the local council investigated.

Miss Reilly is a vegan who does not use any animal products, brings up her children as vegans and takes part in non-violent vegan activism. In July 2022, the tribunal found she was fired in October 2020 for making protected disclosures (whistleblowing), and that her boss’ comments went against the Equality Act 2010 as her veganism constitutes a philosophical belief. In January 2020, ethical veganism became a protected belief in Great Britain after the success of a legal case I initiated, and this recent case has used this protection to argue in favour of the complainant.

Employment Judge Claire McManus concluded: “We were satisfied on the basis of [her] evidence that her belief in veganism perpetrates her life and how she lives her life…[She] showed that her practice of veganism is a belief intrinsic to her sense of identity…We were satisfied that for [Miss Reilly], veganism is a philosophical belief within the meaning of section 10 of the Equality Act 2010 and is a protected characteristic for her.” This case is another example of how the legal protection of ethical vegans from discrimination, victimisation, and harassment in Great Britain is real, and those employers or service providers who ignore this are likely to face consequences if taken to court.