The League Against Cruel Sports has settled an unfair dismissal case brought by its former head of policy after accepting that it should not have sacked him for raising concerns about the charity’s pension plan in line with his support for veganism.
Jordi Casamitjana had been involved in the dispute with the charity for two years after he was dismissed by the charity for messaging colleagues about ethical pension arrangements after finding out the charity invested in companies involved in animal testing.
Casamitjana had been warned at the time not to message other employees about alternatives to the auto-enrolment pension scheme the charity used.
The case went to tribunal last week after Casamitjana, a vegan, won a ruling in January that confirmed that ethical veganism was a protected belief under law.
The League Against Cruel Sports yesterday settled the case and accepted that it should not have dismissed Casamitjana for sending the emails to colleagues.
The charity declined to comment on whether it had agreed a financial settlement with Casamitjana.
A statement from the charity said: “We are happy to make clear that Mr Casamitjana was a very valued employee of the league during the two periods he worked with us, showing a great deal of professionalism, expertise and commitment to the protection of animals.
“The only reason for the dismissal of Mr Casamitjana in 2018 was his communications to his colleagues in relation to our pension arrangements. Having revisited the issue we now accept that Mr Casamitjana did nothing wrong with such communications, which were motivated by his belief in ethical veganism.
“We are grateful to Mr Casamitjana for having raised the issue of pensions to us, which allowed us to change our default pension fund to an ethical one closer to our values.”
In a statement published by his lawyers, Slater & Gordon, Jordi Casamitjana said he was “extremely happy” to have settled the case.
“The case has established that ethical vegans are protected from discrimination, and I have received the acknowledgement I sought that my dismissal was based on my ethical veganism, and was not justified or justifiable,” he said.
He added that his communications to colleagues were motivated by wanting to avoid investing his pension into what he considered to be unethical funds, that he did not want colleagues to do so without their explicit consent, and to protect the charity from reputational damage from investing in companies that tested products on animals.
“The league conceded that the decision to discipline me arose from those concerns and communications, and that the decision to dismiss me was because of the strength of my ethical beliefs.
“They also explained how, after I was sacked by the league, the concerns I raised resulted in them changing in 2019 their pension arrangements so that the league’s current default pension fund for auto-enrolling is finally ‘ethical’.
“I am hopeful that the events of the past few years will prompt the league to learn from its mistakes and enable it to reclaim its position as one of the most important animal welfare charities in the UK.”