Employment tribunal statistics 2010: which discrimination claims get the largest awards?

Following this week’s publication of statistics from the Employment Tribunal Service that there has been a 56% rise in the number of accepted tribunal claims, Laura Chamberlain ranks the discrimination cases by the size of awards and also looks at the frequency of, and typical success rates for, the tribunal claims.






WarningWarning: These statistics are out-of-date

This article is based on the Employment Tribunal Service statistics for 2009/10. You can find the rankings for the largest discrimination awards in 2010/11 here.


1. Disability discrimination – average award: £52,087

Claims of disability discrimination resulted in big payouts this year, including the largest ever disability discrimination award of £729,347. This payout was awarded to Matt Driscoll, a sports writer at News of the World, who was subject to bullying and was sacked in April 2007 while on long-term sick leave for stress-related depression. Another 11 cases resulted in claims greater than £50,000.

There was a rise in the number of claims accepted by tribunals – 7,500 in the last year, up from 6,600 in 2008-09 – and 45% were settled without the need for a hearing. Claims successful at tribunal: 3%.

2. Sexual orientation discrimination – average award: £20,384

Although the number of claims for discrimination against sexual orientation is relatively low in comparison to other discrimination claims, it is rising steadily with 710 claims accepted by employment tribunals this year, compared to 600 in 2008-09. The biggest payout was £163,725 but this greatly exceeded other awards paid for sexual orientation discrimination claims, which were all less than £30,000. Most claims (40%) were settled without a hearing. Claims successful at tribunal: 5%.

3. Sex discrimination – average award: £19,499

A sex discrimination claim against Redcar and Cleveland Council resulted in a compensation award of £422,366 this year. Pauline Scanlon was an equalities officer but was dismissed in 2004 because she had criticised the council for breaching its own contractual equal opportunities policies and said that this was potentially discriminatory.

The number of sex discrimination claims accepted by employment tribunals was higher than other discrimination claims at 18,200. However, these claims are actually declining, with 400 fewer cases going to tribunal than last year and 8,700 fewer than in 2007-2008. Most claims (57%) were withdrawn. Claims successful at tribunal: 2%.

4. Race discrimination – average award: £18,584

Racial discrimination resulted in a compensation award of £374,922 paid to an investment banker. Michael Warden claimed the French investment bank Calyon had discriminated against him on the grounds of nationality when he was not promoted and then dismissed.

There were 5,700 claims for race discrimination accepted by tribunals this year and most cases were settled without a hearing or withdrawn. Claims successful at tribunal: 3%.

5. Age discrimination – average award: £10,931

Claims for age discrimination are growing steadily, although the average level of pay outs is quite low compared to some other types of discrimination claims. The maximum award was £48,710, with only one other age discrimination claim being awarded more than £40,000.

Claims reaching tribunal rose to 5,200 this year, up 37% on 2008-09. Most claims were either withdrawn or settled without a hearing (39% each). Claims successful at tribunal: 2%.

6. Religious discrimination – average award: £4,886

Payouts for religious discrimination claims were much lower than in other discrimination cases – the largest being £9,500 – and only a low number of claims reached tribunal. However, claims accepted by employment tribunals for religious discrimination are growing steadily with 1,000 accepted claims this year, compared with 830 in 2008-09. The majority of cases were either withdrawn (32%) or settled without a hearing (33%). Claims successful at tribunal: 2%.

These figures from the Employment Tribunal and EAT statistics cover the period from April 2009 to March 2010.

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