If an employee wins a discrimination claim, an employment tribunal will award compensation for injury to feelings, designed to compensate the employee for the hurt and embarrassment caused by the discrimination. This is on top of any financial losses that flow from the discriminatory treatment. Although Section 119 and 124 Equality Act 2010 set out that damages can include an injury to feelings award, the guidance on how to value those hurt feelings was originally set out by the Court of Appeal in a case called Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police.
The Vento case established three bands: a lower band for less serious cases, including one off acts; a middle band for serious cases that don’t justify a top band award and a top band for the most serious cases such as a lengthy campaign of discrimination. Only in exceptional cases will injury to feelings exceed the top band or fall below the bottom band. The award is compensatory rather than punitive, so its value is based on how the discrimination has affect the individual employee, rather than a judgement on the employer’s behaviour.
The ‘Vento’ bands adjusted each year to take account of inflation. The new rates set out below will apply to claims brought on or after 6 April 2021:
Bottom band – £900 -£9,100
Middle band – £9,100 – £27,400
Top band – £27,400 to £45,600
Claims that were brought before 6 April 2021 will still have the old rates applied: lower band £900 – £8,800; middle band £8,800 to £26,300 and top band £26,300 to £44,000.
Find out how we can help. Our partner, Jon Dunkley, heads the Wollens specialist Employment Department. Contact him today for an informal chat, without obligation on 01271 342268 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.