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Injury to feelings update

Posted on Sep 21, 2017 in All posts

The Presidents of the Employment Tribunals have published new guidance on awards for injury to feelings for cases presented to the Tribunal on or after 11 September 2017.

The “Vento bands”, named after the 2002 case in which the Court of Appeal set out guidance on injury to feelings awards, provide a framework for awards of compensation for injury to feelings.   In Vento, the Court identified:

  • a lower band of £500 to £5,000 for less serious cases, such as where the act of discrimination is an isolated or one-off occurrence;
  • a middle band of £5,000 to £15,000 for serious cases which do not merit an award in the highest band; and
  • a top band of £15,000 to £25,000 for the most serious cases (such as where there has been a lengthy campaign of discriminatory harassment);

The Court suggested that awards of less than £500 should be avoided, as they risk being regarded as so low as not to be a proper recognition of injury to feelings, and that only in the most exceptional cases should an award for injury to feelings exceed £25,000.

The new guidance, taking into account inflation and a number of cases including Simmons v Castle in 2012 and De Souza v Vinci Construction earlier this year, has set the bands at:

  • £800 to £8,400 (lower band);
  • £8,400 to £25,200 (middle band); and
  • £25,200 to £42,000 (top band).

The guidance also provides a formula for Tribunals to use in respect of claims presented prior to 11 September 2017 and an alternative approach to be taken for cases in Scotland.   The Presidents committed to reviewing their guidance annually each March, starting in 2018.