Know Your Vegan Rights - European Law
The fundamental rights and freedoms outlined in the UDHR have been implemented in different ways across the globe. Various treaties, declarations, directives and conventions of the European Union have evolved these ideas and provided for what is now known as the principle of non-discrimination.
In Europe the principle of non-discrimination means that you have rights as a consumer of goods and services and in your place of work. These rights have evolved and derive from the European Convention on Human Rights. The more recent Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms protects a vegan from unfair treatment as a result of being vegan. As a minority group vegans can also claim rights under Acts relating to the protection of minorities.
You can read the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities here.
Under the terms of the ECHR all member states have a duty to prevent discrimination and under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty to eliminate inequalities.
What is outlawed:
- Victimisation because you are vegan.
- Harassment because you are vegan.
- Unfair treatment as a result of being vegan.
- Treatment that puts you at a disadvantage due to being vegan.
You are also protected from any unwanted conduct which:
- Violates your dignity.
- Causes you to feel humiliated.
- Creates a degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
Veganism was recognised as a belief for the purposes of human rights legislation as far back as 1993 (H v United Kingdom, also known as W. v United Kingdom. See "Court Cases"). It is time to build on this and campaign for our rights as vegans. Please read our manifesto.
Your rights in context
- If your employer provides food, you have the right to request and receive vegan food. For example a "working lunch".
- If you require safety wear, you have the right to request and receive vegan alternatives to standard equipment made from the skin of other animals, where these are available and comply with required specifications.
- You have the right not to be humiliated or have to cope with an offensive or degrading environment as a result of jokes or other remarks about veganism from your colleagues.
- If your employer has a practice or policy which puts you at a disadvantage because you are vegan you have the right to request that the policy be amended. For example a common practice is the provision of a fridge, a microwave and other kitchen facilities for carnists. You have the right to request the provision of equipment for vegan use.
- You have the right not to be treated unfairly or disadvantageously by any service provider because you are vegan. This includes the catering industry. You have the right to request vegan food where non vegan food is provided. This applies to hotels, airlines, trains, coaches, prisons, etc.
- You have the right to request tailors to provide synthetic fabrics and materials.
- You have the right to request vegan alternatives in any service provision context including the cosmetic industry. For example, hairdressing and nail manicure service providers.
- You have the right to request and receive vegan alternative medications.
- You have the right to vegan food in hospital or if you live in a care home
Published: February, 2016