Earlier this month, the Government launched a consultation on plans to reduce the cap on unfair dismissal payouts.
While this might seem a proportionate measure to address high payouts, Employment Tribunal Service statistics published last week show that just 2% of unfair dismissal claims exceeded £50,000 in 2011/12, meaning that only a tiny proportion approached the existing cap of £72,300.
In fact, the figures indicate that unfair dismissal awards may be decreasing in value, with both the median and maximum unfair dismissal awards falling for the past two years.
But unfair dismissal is not the only type of claim to see a drop in the size of payouts. Several types of discrimination awards, which have no cap, have also seen a fall this year.
Personnel Today has examined employment tribunal statistics from the past five years to find out which types of discrimination cases are seeing a rise in tribunal awards and which are seeing a decline.
On the rise
1. Sexual orientation discrimination - median award: £13,505
The median award for sexual orientation discrimination has more than doubled since last year, when the median payout was £5,500.
This fluctuation is down to the low number of payouts awarded in sexual orientation cases, which means that the median is more likely to be affected by cases with abnormally high or low awards. The 2011/12 median figure is based on 10 tribunal awards.
Find the full breakdown of sexual orientation awards in 2011/12.
2. Disability discrimination - median award: £8,928
The median disability discrimination award has followed a pattern of increasing one year and decreasing the next during the past five years of Employment Tribunal Service statistics.
This year there was an increase in the median payout, rising from £6,142 in 2010/11 to £8,928 in 2011/12.
More information on the different sizes of disability discrimination awards this year can be found on XpertHR.
3. Sex discrimination - median award: £6,746
After a fall last year, the median sex discrimination payout increased from £6,078 in 2010/11 to £6,746 in this year's figures.
Conversely, the maximum award of £89,700 recorded in 2011/12 was the lowest for this type of discrimination claim for the past five years.
View the full details of sex discrimination awards in 2011/12.
On the decline
4. Age discrimination - median award: £6,065
The median payout for age discrimination halved in 2011/12 to reach £6,065. However, the previous year's median award of £12,697 was more than double that of 2009/10, when it was £5,868.
Find a full breakdown of this year's age discrimination awards.
5. Race discrimination - median award: £5,256
After a rise last year, the median award in race discrimination cases has returned to similar levels to those in 2008/09 and 2009/10, when it stood at £5,172 and £5,392 respectively.
More information on race discrimination awards in 2011/12 is available on XpertHR.
6. Unfair dismissal - median award: £4,560
The median unfair dismissal payout has fallen for the past two years, from £4,903 in 2009/10, to £4,591 in 2010/11, then to £4,560 in 2011/12.
Despite government plans to reduce the cap on unfair dismissal awards, the highest recorded award for this type of claim has also fallen for the past two years and now stands at £173,408.
View the full details of unfair dismissal awards in 2011/12.
7. Religious discrimination - median award: £4,267
This year, the median religious discrimination award was at its lowest level for the past four years. However, the highest payout in 2011/12 was the highest of the past five years at £59,522.
Due to the low number of religious discrimination payouts, the median level of award each year is more prone to fluctuation. The 2011/12 median figure is based on 10 tribunal awards. In 2007/08 the Employment Tribunal Service provided no median figure as there were only two awards given in religious discrimination cases.
Find a full breakdown of this year's religious discrimination awards.
These figures are from the past five years of Employment Tribunal Service statistics, which each cover the period from 1 April to 31 March the following year. More detail on the key statistics from 2011/12 can be found on XpertHR.