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Injury to feelings - how much can an Employment Tribunal award?

View profile for Emily Yeardley
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In addition to compensation for financial loss, Employment Tribunals may award compensation for injured feelings in discrimination claims. 

As neither the Equality Act 2010 or previous legislation provided guidance on the level of award for injury to feelings, the Courts and Tribunals are required to determine the amount. A balancing act is required to ensure that awards are not be too low to diminish respect for the law or too high that they amount to a windfall.  

The Court of Appeal set clear guidelines for such awards in the leading case of Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police (No 2) [2003] by setting bands for potential awards (known as the Vento bands). The bands are updated annully by way of Presidential Guidance.

New Presidential Guidance was issued on 25 March 2020 confirming that, for claims issued on or after 6 April 2020, the bands are as follows: 
•    Lower band: £900 to £9,000 (less serious cases);
•    Middle band: £9,000 to £27,000 (cases that do not merit an award in the upper band);  
•    Upper band : £27,000 to £45,000 (the most serious cases) but with the possibility of an award exceeding £45,000 in exceptional cases. 

Tribunals have discretion as to what to awards but will take into account these Vento bands.

Please note that this information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking full legal advice on specific facts and circumstances.
 

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