Increases to injury to feelings awards

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Written by: Alcumus
7th December

Injury to feelings awards may be made by Employment Tribunals to compensate a claimant for injury to feelings as a result of any discrimination suffered.  This award is additional to an award for financial loss which can be large, possibly making up more than 50% of the overall compensation awarded.

When assessing the correct level for an injury to feelings award, Tribunals have followed the previous guidance provided by the Courts in 2002 and 2009.  There are three bands of compensation designed to reflect the severity of the discrimination, known as the "Vento" bands, after the 2002 case. The detail of these bands has not been clear recently on whether the bands should be increased for inflation or not, and whether they could be uplifted by 10% in line with the decision by the Court of Appeal in 2012.

This matter has now been clarified by the Court of Appeal as it recommended that the Presidents of the Employment Tribunals issue guidance on the calculation of injury to feelings and personal injury awards, taking into account both a possible 10% uplift for pain and suffering or mental distress and (RPI) inflation.  This detail has now been published and the table below shows the new bands:

In exceptional cases, the awards in the top band could be further increased.

These awards will be reviewed and, if necessary, increased in March 2018 and then on an annual basis. Any new awards would come into effect on 6th April each year.

Written by Joanna Dobie, Senior HR Consultant