From 6 April 2018, the compensation which successful claimants can recover in discrimination cases will increase as the “Vento guidelines” – which employment tribunals follow when deciding how much to award for injury to feelings – are amended to reflect recent increases in inflation as measured by the RPI index.
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 certain guidelines.
On the 23 March 2018, the Presidents of the Employment Tribunals in England and Wales and Scotland, issued revised guidance for employment tribunals when making awards for injury to feelings in discrimination cases, 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.
In respect of claims made on or after 6 April 2018, the Vento bands are increased as follows:
- lower band: £900 to £8,600 (less serious cases);
- middle band of £8,600 to £25,700 (cases that do not merit an award in the upper band); and
- upper band of £25,700 to £42,900 (the most serious cases),
For the most exceptional cases it is possible, although highly unusual, to recover more than £42,900.
It is expected that the bands will now be increased each year in line with the RPI index.
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.
With no fee payable for bringing a claim in the employment tribunal, those who believe they may have suffered discrimination or harassment will have even more reason to consider bringing legal proceedings.
If you need advice on whether you have a claim, speak to one of our employment law experts today.