An NHS Trust in London has amended a job advertisement that discriminated against vegans after The Vegan Society’s intervention.
The Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust published an advertisement for an Occupational Therapist in an Eating Disorders Service that said: “Unfortunately [applicants] with vegan diets cannot be considered”.
The Vegan Society with their associates at the International Vegan Rights Alliance (IVRA) challenged the Trust about the legality of the advertisement.
Amanda Baker, Senior Advocacy and Policy Officer at The Vegan Society, said: “We are delighted that the Trust concerned has revised the job advertisement. We hope that qualified vegans now feel able to apply, and will be considered fairly.
“As vegans in Great Britain, we have the right to fair treatment in employment under The Equality Act (2010). All our moral rights to fair treatment are codified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
Jeanette Rowley, founding member of the IVRA, said: “The advertisement was explicitly excluding vegan applicants. Under the Equality Act 2010, this is an example of Direct Discrimination.
“Direct Discrimination can occur when people with protected characteristics are treated less favourably. On this occasion, the NHS Trust were treating vegans less favourably by deciding not to employ them because it was (falsely) assumed that they follow a restricted diet. This less
This less favourable treatment is unlawful under the UK Equality Act because veganism falls within the scope of the protected characteristic Religion and Belief.”
Ms Rowley wrote to the Trust to explain that veganism is protected as an ethical orientation and is not a restricted diet or a diet of any kind and that the Trust is under a duty, created by the Equality Act, not to discriminate and to promote equality of opportunity.
A swift apology and correction followed, with the offending words being removed from the job advertisement.
A spokesperson for the Trust said: “We’re sorry for the offence we caused and yes we did speedily change the advert.
“We welcome anyone of any belief applying for any job in our eating disorders service as long as they can fulfill the specific requirements of that job; in this case, it includes modelling eating a broad range of foods patients might perceive as risky.
“This requirement was wrongly summarised as about the person applying and not the clinical requirement of the job and we apologise for that.
“The Eating Disorders Service is a great place to work and provides an excellent service because it has excellent people working there, from a broad range of backgrounds and beliefs, and that’s a strength.”
Telling potential vegan applicants that they ‘cannot be considered’ can be against the law. If you think you’ve spotted something that seems to be discriminating against vegans, please take a screenshot of it and get in touch with The Vegan Society at 0121 523 1730 or email@example.com.