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Service Areas: Employment (for Business)

Changes to levels of compensation for injury to feelings

Awards for injury to feelings in discrimination claims are set to increase, following guidelines in a recent decision by the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

Employment associate Alison Parker comments:

In discrimination cases, claimants can claim compensation for ‘injury to feelings’ in addition to compensation for financial losses. Guidelines on the levels of compensation awarded in respect of injury to feelings was set out by the Court of Appeal in the case of Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police (No 2) [2003] IRLR 102 (‘Vento Guidelines’) by way of introducing three bands of potential compensatory awards, depending on the seriousness of the discrimination.

These guidelines were set in 2002 and have been followed by tribunals, subject to inflationary changes in some subsequent cases.  We understand the Employment Appeal Tribunal has recently set out revised inflationary adjusted compensation bands in the case of Da'Bell v NSPCC (not yet reported):

• Top band (the most serious cases): £18,000 - £30,000 (formerly, £15,000 - £25,000);

• Middle band (relatively serious cases but not justifying compensation at the top band level):   £6,000 - £18,000 (formerly, £5,000 - £15,000)

• Bottom band (less serious cases): £600 - £6,000 (formerly, £500 - £5,000).

Employers should be aware that it is likely the revised bands will be applied by employment tribunals in future discrimination claims.

Published: 12 October 2009
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