April 20, 2022
For claims presented on or after 6 April 2022, the Presidents of the Employment Tribunals in England, Wales and Scotland have issued guidance providing new ranges for awards relating to injury to feelings.
The new bands are as follows:
In exceptional cases awards are capable of exceeding £49,300.
In 1998 Ms Vento lodged a complaint against her employer, West Yorkshire Police, for unfair dismissal and racial/sexual discrimination. Following a breakdown in her marriage she was subject to inappropriate treatment from her superiors, including bullying and sexual harassment. One particular incident involved her lying about accepting a lift to an incident rather than walking 25 minutes. She claimed to have lied to her Sergeant because she was under such scrutiny and pressure that she felt she wasn't able to tell the truth. Eventually her employment was not extended beyond her probationary period and as such was effectively dismissed. Reasons including dishonesty to superiors were cited. The Tribunal found that she was treated less favourably than a hypothetical male officer and she won her case. The Tribunal awarded a total of £257,844, with a sum of £65,000 for injury to feeling.
One of the main issues addressed at appeal was the award granted. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) found the sum to be highly excessive and
reduced the award for injury to feeling to £30,000.
From this point, the courts agreed three broad bands of compensation for injury to feelings (initially set at £500-£5,000, £5,000-£15,000 and £15,000-£25,000). These are known as Vento Bands.
This numbers remained for a number of years and formed the basis of applying awards for injury to feelings. However, in De Souza v Vinci Construction (UK) Ltd (2017) it was agreed that awards for injury to feelings should be increased by 10% to reflect the increase in awards being given in civil courts.
Since then, Vento Bands have been updated annually.
Firstly, it demonstrates the financial risk to employers in terms of compensation they may be required to pay should they lose a discrimination case (it should be remembered that injury to feelings is only one aspect of the award that may be granted.)
Secondly these figures can be used to help guide employers and employees when negotiating settlement agreements outside of the courts as they provide an indication of what compensation may be awarded.
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