Should vegans be given their own shelf in the office fridge?
Vegans should be given their own shelf in the office fridge, that’s according to a new set of guidelines issued for employers.
Vegan charity The Vegan Society has today shared suggested guidelines to help companies better look after their vegan staff.
The booklet, titled ‘Supporting veganism in the workplace: A guide for employers’, gives advice on everything from having separate food prep areas in the kitchen to ensuring vegan menus are available at work events.
It also recommends that bosses provide vegans with their own dedicated shelf in the fridge.
Other recommendations include incorporating colour-coded kitchen equipment and ensuring vegan employees have access to vegan-friendly clothing or other items, such as non-leather phone cases.
The charity also wants vegans to be exempt from corporate events like horse racing or activities that might include cooking a “hog roast” on a barbecue.
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The topic of joke-making is also tackled within the guidelines in order to try and create a more positive working environment for vegan workers.
“Fostering a general attitude of respect towards vegan employees is key,” the guide reads. “If ‘jokes’ made about an employee’s veganism become burdensome, steps should be made to improve this.
“One way of assessing whether a co-worker has gone too far with comments to or about vegans is to consider what type of conversational behaviour would be deemed offensive to other individuals with protected characteristics, such as those who adhere to certain religious values.”
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The guidelines release follows a judge ruling at an employment tribunal that vegans were protected in the workplace by law and are protected under the 2010 Equality Act.
An employment tribunal in Norwich ruled that it is illegal to fire someone for being vegan as it is a philosophical belief.
Commenting on the new recommendations Matt Turner, a spokesperson for The Vegan Society, said: “It is important that businesses up and down the country take note of these new guidelines and start to include them in their workplace policies and practices as soon as possible.
“This ruling and the protection it confirms for ethical vegans are long overdue.”
Recent research has revealed that veganism is on the rise. According to stats by the British Takeaway Campaign, orders of plant-based takeaways grew an astonishing 388% between 2016 and 2018 with 600,000 vegans in the UK alone.
Alternative research revealed that more than 800,000 people cut back on eating animal products for at least a month last year, contributing to a fall in sales of red meat.
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Ethical considerations remain the biggest motivation for those deciding to go vegan – this is according to a 2016 survey which found these grounds motivate 80% of vegans, compared to sustainability (12%) and health (14%).
Last year, vegan campaigners challenged a scheme that gives out free cow’s milk to under fives.
Under the government initiative, which dates back to the 1940s, children in approved day care get a third of a pint of milk a day.
The idea behind the Nursery Milk Scheme is to give kids a nutritional boost, but most nurseries and schools only provide cow’s milk for free.
The Vegan Society therefore believes establishments that do not offer plant-based alternatives to cows’ milk are “indirectly discriminating against” vegan children.