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Compensation for injury to feelings sees increase in line with the Retail Price Index

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Claimants at an employment tribunal may make a claim for “injury to feelings” in situations where they have suffered discrimination which has led to humiliation, hurt and degradation, or the discrimination has persisted for a lengthy period of time. The damages awarded for injury to feelings have seen a rise in accordance with the Retail Price Index, following guidance from the Presidents of the Employment Tribunals in England & Wales, and Scotland.

The Vento case

The case of Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police saw the Court of Appeal identify three bands of compensation when an employee has suffered from injury to feelings, depending on severity.

The original bands were:

£500 to £5,000 in less serious cases

£5,000 to £15,000 in cases that do not merit the higher band

£15,000 to £25,000 in extremely serious cases

Over £25,000 in exceptional cases

The bands were created during the Vento case, which occurred in 2003, and since then there have been multiple increases in damages awarded.

The most recent increases in damages

Claims presented after 6 April 2018 will see the bands for damages increase in line with the Retail Price Index, following guidance from the President of employment tribunals in England & Wales, and the President of employment tribunals in Scotland.

The new bands are:

£900 to £8,600 in less serious cases

£8,600 to £25,700 in cases that do not merit the higher band

£25,700 to £42,900 in extremely serious cases

Over £42,900 in exceptional cases

Claims that are brought prior to 6 April 2018 will follow guidance issued on 5 September 2017.

Things to consider for employers

  • Whilst the guidance is not binding, employment tribunals must have regard to it
  • Any claim for injury to feelings will be considered separately to other financial claims, for example, loss of earnings
  • This should help employers to have a clearer idea of the damages that may be payable upon the outcome of an employment tribunal, but of course, this will depend upon which band the compensation falls within

Employers should secure legal advice at an early stage if such a claim may arise, in order to ensure that they are acting fairly and reasonably during the course of employment, and during any claims that arise.

Contact

To discuss any of the issues raised above relating to the dismissal of employees, contact Susan Mayall on 0161 684 6948 or make an enquiry.

Sources

Presidential Guidance – Employment Tribunal awards for injury to feelings and psychiatric injury following De Souza v Vinci Construction (UK) Ltd [2017] EWCA Civ 879 – 23 March 2018

Presidential Guidance – Employment Tribunal awards for injury to feelings and psychiatric injury following De Souza v Vinci Construction (UK) Ltd [2017] EWCA Civ 879 – 5 September 2017

Vento v The Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police [2002] EWCA Civ 1871

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

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