Injury to feelings awards
When an employee is successful in bringing a discrimination claim against an employer, the tribunal has the ability to award compensation for injury to feelings as well as for financial loss. This means they receive damages on account of the distress, hurt and upset the discrimination has caused.
The Tribunal can exercise significant discretion in making an award for injury to feelings. Matters such as the employee’s characteristics, the impact of the discrimination, medical conditions and areas of particular vulnerability will be taken into account when making the award. Any efforts of the employer to make amends will also be considered by the Tribunal at this time.
When considering the size of an award such as this, the Tribunal is assisted by the “Vento bands”. These bands derive from the case of Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, in which the Court of Appeal identified three broad bands of compensation for injury to feelings awards dependent upon the seriousness and duration of the discrimination suffered. Following guidance from the Presidents of the Employment Tribunals in England & Wales and Scotland, these Vento bands have been increased.
Any awards for injury to feelings relating to claims presented on or after the 6 April 2018, shall be evaluated using the updated bands as outlined below:
- Lower Band: £900 – £8,600 less serious cases
- Middle Band: £8600 – £25,700 cases not meriting a top band award
- Top Band: £25,700 – £42,900
- *Exceptional cases may see awards exceeding this upper limit of £42,900
Although this guidance is not binding, tribunals must have regard to it when making an award for injury to feelings.
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