The Equality Act 2010 expressly provides that compensation for discrimination may include (or be made up entirely of) compensation for injured feelings. An award for injury to feelings is separate from an award of compensation for financial loss. A claimant can therefore recover injury to feelings even when they have suffered no financial loss.
On 24 July 2017, the President of the Employment Tribunals (England and Wales) and the President of the Employment Tribunals (Scotland) issued a joint consultation statement seeking views on new increased bands for compensation for injury to feelings. The response has been published and confirms the new bands that will apply to claims presented on or after 11 September 2017.
The new bands are as follows:
|Band||Old Figures||New Figures|
|Lower||£600 – £6,600||£800 – £8,400|
|Middle||£6,600 – £19,800||£8,400 – £25,200|
|Upper||£19,800 – £33,000||£25,200 – £42,000|
|Exceptional Cases||£33,000 +||£42,000 +|
For claims presented before that date, it will be open to tribunals to adjust the bands.
There are a number of factors to consider in each case when deciding what level of compensation should be awarded. These include the Claimant’s vulnerability, the degree of hurt, distress or upset caused, the position of the person who was found to be discriminating and the seriousness of the treatment. The size of the respondent’s business is irrelevant, as the tribunal is only concerned with the effect on the Claimant.
Naturally, these figures are a serious consideration for businesses. To mitigate the risk of discrimination within the workplace we would suggest the following as a starting point:
Review your bullying and harassment and equality policies to make sure that they are up to date and fit for purpose – this helps minimise confusion or uncertainty among staff and managers, and provides a solid foundation for building a safe, productive and respectful working environment;
Awareness of the policy – it is all very well in having a policy in place but employers also need to take make sure that everyone understands the policy and that it operates effectively in practice.
If you would like to discuss putting a policy in place, would like your existing policies reviewed or have any other questions about this topic then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Sarah Alford, at email@example.com and 02920 345511.