From 6 April 2019, the compensation which successful claimants can recover for injury to feelings in discrimination cases will increase as the “Vento guidelines” – which employment tribunals follow when deciding how much to award for injury to feelings  – have been increased.

Unlike in unfair dismissal cases where only economic loss is recoverable, successful claimants in discrimination and harassment cases can  recover compensation in the employment tribunal for non-economic loss – otherwise known as “injury to feelings awards.”

Although there is theoretically no limit on the compensation which may be awarded in discrimination and harassment cases, employment tribunals do have to follow official guidelines when making awards for injury to feelings. These are the so called “Vento guidelines” which set out three bands of compensation, depending on the seriousness of the discrimination and its effect on the victim.

Revised guidance has recently been issued  Presidents of the Employment Tribunals in England and Wales and Scotland which should apply for the next 12 months. The bands are expected to be increased each year in line with the RPI index.

New Vento bands published

For claims which are  made on or after 6 April 2019, the Vento bands which will apply in the event that the claimant is successful and an injury to feelings  award is made, are increased as follows (the previous maximum amount is shown in square brackets):

  • lower band: £900 to £8,800 [£8,600] (less serious cases);
  • middle band of £8,800 to  £26,300 [£25,700 ](cases that do not merit an award in the upper band); and
  • upper band of £26,300 to £44,000 [£42,900] (the most serious cases),

For the most exceptional cases it is possible, although highly unusual, to recover more than  £44,000.

Comment

Claimants can bring claims against both their employer and the individual who carried out the alleged act of discrimination. The consequence of this change is that it will become even more expensive for employers who discriminate against staff – or do nothing to prevent individuals working for them from discriminating against others.

It costs individuals nothing to start a claim in the employment tribunal, those who believe they may have suffered discrimination or harassment will now have even more reason to consider bringing legal proceedings. In addition, these figures are a helpful yardstick to those who may  be negotiating with their employer in respect of an alleged act of discrimination or harassment.

If you need advice on whether you may have a claim for discrimination or harassment, speak to one of our employment law experts today.

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