Injury to feelings – 2020 update
The Presidents of the Employment Tribunals have updated their guidance on awards for injury to feeling. The new guidance will apply to claims presented to the Tribunal on or after 6 April 2020.
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 recent cases including Simmons v Castle in 2012 and De Souza v Vinci Constructions, has set the bands at:
- £900 to 9,000 (lower band);
- £9,000 to £27,000 (middle band); and
- £27,000 to £45,000 (top band).
In the most exceptional cases awards may exceed £45,000.
The 2017 guidance for the approach to be taken for cases in Scotland remains in force.