Forums
back to main | back to forum | view rules
uk equality bill protects vegans
Diana Posted at 2010/03/12 9:54am reply to

Diana
Posts: 207
message

I had an interesting discussion with a friend about this equality bill. He said there was no difference between allowing a vegan exemption from advertising burgers or rat poison and allowing a pharmacist not to dispense the day after pill because of religious beliefs about conception. I happen to think limiting the suffering of sentient beings is an evidence based rational endeavor but am happy to get protection under the law even if I have to share it with Scientologists. Oh, and interestingly to you SxE peeps, this bill covers teetotalers too. Hopefully something like this can come along to the US someday.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article7052580.ece
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/7392222/Vegans-should-be-protected-from-discrimination-says-equality-watchdog.html
zvezdy Posted at 2010/03/12 1:46pm reply to

zvezdy
Posts: 394
message
Apparently the idea for this bill came from a case of a man who claims he was fired for his beliefs about global warming. http://bit.ly/3lJDCw

"The ruling could open the door for employees to sue their companies for failing to account for their green lifestyles, such as providing recycling facilities or offering low-carbon travel."

I understand that people feel they need protection when they're discriminated against, but I'm personally not a fan of the government being able to tell a business owner that they can't let go of an employee for a reason of their choosing. If I own a business and my secretary gets on my freaking nerves, I should reserve the right to fire her without consequence. This is not human rights, this is the stripping away of rights.
Daiya-Bollich Posted at 2010/03/12 8:50pm reply to

Daiya-Bollich
Posts: 218
message
>He said there was no difference between allowing a vegan exemption from advertising burgers or rat poison and allowing a pharmacist not to dispense the day after pill because of religious beliefs about conception.

A vegan exemption from advertising? How could a vegan be forced to advertise something?

>I happen to think limiting the suffering of sentient beings is an evidence based rational endeavor but am happy to get protection under the law even if I have to share it with Scientologists.

Protection from what?
Diana Posted at 2010/03/13 6:04am reply to

Diana
Posts: 207
message
If a vegan worked for an advertising firm that had a client who killed animals as part of their business the vegan could be asked to develop an ad campaign for such an industry. At that point the vegan could refuse to develop the advertising campaign but could be fired. Let's say that same advertising firm was asked to advertise pornographic videos and a devout Catholic refused to advertise. It would be unfair to allow the Catholic to refrain from the task on religious grounds and not allow the vegan to refrain from the task on ethical grounds. Of course there are companies who entertain no such exemptions for anyone which is also fair.

Protection under the law from being discriminated against or harassed for being vegan. Just like you can't fire someone for wearing a crucifix to work you cannot fire someone for not eating animals.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2010/mar/09/discrimination-law
You read either article by any chance?
VeganBrian Posted at 2010/03/13 8:57am reply to

VeganBrian
Posts: 139
message
"Protection from what?"

protection from WORK! Because vegans are weak and unable to do their jobs because they don't eat beef.
zvezdy Posted at 2010/03/13 11:17am reply to

zvezdy
Posts: 394
message
I think the comment was directed at Stephen, but I will say that I read both articles (and then some).

I think anyone who refuses to do their job probably has grounds for being fired. I also think that business owners can and should fire anyone who they don't want working for them anymore.
Diana Posted at 2010/03/13 12:09pm reply to

Diana
Posts: 207
message
Yeah, the "did you read?" comment was for Stephen since the protection issue was easy to construe from the articles.
People can rationally disagree about legal grounds for hiring or firing people. There are also reasons why it is illegal to ask someone about their marital status, IQ, sexual orientation and other personal details to screen for employment. I heard someone tell me that they didn't like to hire newlywed women because they were likely to get pregnant and require maternity leave. I'm sure you can appreciate that example.
If you can prove that you were fired for being vegan, and only for being vegan, I believe there should be some legal recourse. There are some compelling reasons to be able to hire or fire at will (isn't that why Texas is a "right to work state'?) but I personally think there are better reasons for enforcement of laws that maintain employment based on merit not on other extraneous or discriminatory factors.
Anyway, I think the bill was brought forth by this precedent of a man who was fired for his beliefs about climate change
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/tim-nicholson-a-green-martyr-1648388.html
chris Posted at 2010/03/13 12:16pm reply to

chris
Posts: 340
message
Well put, Diana.

"Protection from what?"
Protection from people with low levels of empathy.
Daiya-Bollich Posted at 2010/03/14 8:26am reply to

Daiya-Bollich
Posts: 218
message
>You read either article by any chance?

Yes, I read the first link when it came out because it was posted by Vegan Mainstream, and I asked a similar question on that thread. In neither case have I received a satisfactory response. The article says the law would provide protection from "discrimination." The second one isn't specific on what qualifies as discrimination either.

So what does "protection from discrimination" mean? Protection from people not liking me? As I understand it (from what you and others have said), it could criminalize firing people because of their lifestyle choices, but I don't agree that the state has any legitimate role in the hiring/firing process, and I don't see that as "protection." I see it as a new excuse to eliminate protection for businesses. Employment is a voluntary relationship, and either party has the right to terminate that relationship at any time for any reason.

When I worked as a stocker at a local grocery store in Beaumont, I wrote on my application that I was vegan and would not work with animal meat if hired. Though this made it difficult for them to man the meat department some evenings when people were out, I was never once asked to participate in meat department operations. Protection for me as a vegan should be a negotiation, not an edict delivered from on high. Even so, if they wanted to fire me and hire someone willing to float between all departments, I wouldn't see myself as having any grounds to petition the government for redress of grievances. I would scream like hell though, and tell the world they were assholes. happy

With regard to the third link you posted, I do agree that vegans deserve the same rights as Catholics, and neither group deserves protection from discrimination.

I would prefer protection from authoritarian vegans over "people with low levels of empathy."
weigand Posted at 2010/03/14 1:18pm reply to

weigand
Posts: 539
message
The belief or ideology that government needs to stay out of the hiring and firing practices of private enterprise is naive, in my opinion. There are very real problems that can and do occur without worker protections. It affects society as a whole. And so we as a society can come together and decide how workers should be treated, what's right and wrong, what's fair and what's not.

- Steve
Post a comment
0 users logged in: