Discrimination Law Update: How Much for Injured Feelings?
In cases where unlawful discrimination is successfully argued, compensation can be awarded to a claimant under a number of different heads.
One such head specific to discrimination cases, is that awards of compensation can be made for injured feelings. This allows a successful claimant to be awarded compensation in circumstances where there has been no financial loss.
How are ‘injury to feelings’ quantified?
Compensation for injured feelings is assessed by reference to three ‘bands’ which are designed to reflect the severity of the discrimination. “Less serious” cases fall within the lowest band, “serious cases” fall within the middle band, and “the most serious cases” fall within the top band. Cases in which there has been a lengthy course of discriminatory behaviour or harassment are likely to fall within the top band. It’s for the Employment Tribunal to determine which band is appropriate for the claim. A range of monetary values have been set for each band to guide the Tribunal as to the appropriate amount of compensation.
On 5th September this year, the Presidents of the Employment Tribunals of both Scotland and England and Wales published joint guidance on increasing the amounts of compensation for successful discrimination claims presented on or after 11th September 2017, such that the bands of compensation are as follows:
- A lower band of £800 to £8,400;
- A middle band of £8,400 to £25,200; and
- An upper band of £25,200 to £42,000.
Damages for injury to feelings are capable of exceeding £42,000, but only in the most exceptional of cases.
The Presidential Guidance will be reviewed and, if necessary, amended March 2018 and annually thereafter. Any new Presidential Guidance will come into effect in respect of claims presented on or after 6th April each year. It’s likely that the annual review of awards of compensation for injury to feelings in discrimination claims will result in awards continuing to increase in line with inflation.
Written by Isla Fern (1st year Trainee) and Grace WatsonBack to news list