Vegan activist whistleblower
I’m sharing this fundraising campaign on behalf of my friend, Jordi.
Who am I?
My name is Jordi Casamitjana and I am a whistleblower.
I am an Ethical Vegan who was dismissed by an Animal Welfare charity after I blew the whistle that their pension fund was being invested in companies involved in animal testing.
Most of my adult life I have pursued the philosophy of ethical veganism. It has informed my daily existence, including my career and employment.
In September 2016, I returned to work at a prominent animal welfare charity that I had worked for some years before. I was enrolled in the charity’s pension. But I discovered that the pension was investing in companies, including pharmaceutical and tobacco companies, who are known to engage in animal testing.
I raised this with my employer as their investment in such companies was directly contradictory to the reason for the existence and values of the organisation. At first they agreed with me and stated that the pension fund would be changed, then they told to all staff that the pension had been changed to an ethical fund, then admitted to me but not to all my colleagues that it hadn’t been changed, and finally they stated that I could personally change mine. At my request they sent an email around to staff which gave only one ethical fund alternative, which offered worse rates of return than some of the other ethical pension funds that were also available.
When I wrote to my colleagues to tell them that their pension was being invested in non-ethical funds, and that there were alternatives to the single alternative that the company was suggesting, I was sacked. I was given no appeal hearing.
Background to my case?
Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, I am a Zoologist specialising in animal behaviour (Ethologist), who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for over 20 years.
In addition to scientific research I have worked mostly as an investigator, animal welfare consultant and animal protection campaigner, both freelance and for many reputable animal advocacy organisations in different countries.
My most notable work has been my involvement with the first successful prosecutions under the Hunting Act 2004 (when working for the League Against Cruel Sports), the exposé of trail hunting as a false alibi (when working for IFAW) and my participation in the campaign that led to the ban on bullfighting in Catalonia (as a consultant of PROU).
I have been an ethical vegan for over seventeen years, and it is as an ethical vegan that I live all aspects of my life as far as this is reasonably practical. This means that I do not eat, wear or consume any animal products.
Why does this case matter?
- Donors to animal protection charities have the right to expect that the money they donate will be invested in a way which is compatible with their beliefs. The investment of charitable funds in companies that test on animals is a betrayal of the trust placed in those charities by their donors.
- Whistleblowers have the right not to be dismissed because they have blown the whistle. Where this happens in supposedly ethical organisations, it is all the more egregious.
- The philosophical belief in ethical veganism has not yet been tested before the UK courts. All the signs are that the courts will accept that it is a belief worthy of protection under the Equality Act 2010. My case will put that to the test.
I have instructed Bindmans LLP, a firm known for bringing and winning important whistleblowing and discrimination claims. Bindmans acted for Joe Hashman in his philosophical belief discrimination claim which established that the belief in the sanctity of animal life was protected under the Equality Act 2010.
My claim will be that as a result of raising protected disclosures, I suffered a series of detriments, and that the decision to dismiss me was discriminatory on the grounds of my philosophical belief.
How much am I raising and why?
I am seeking to raise £5,000 initially to cover the drafting of the pleadings and collation of the evidence. But in order to continue to bring the claim I ultimately need to raise £40,000.
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