Tribunal awards: which discrimination cases attract the biggest payouts?

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While the latest Employment Tribunal Service statistics show that the average tribunal awards for age discrimination claims nearly tripled in 2010/11, many other types of discrimination claims saw drops in the size of the average payout. Laura Chamberlain examines the types of discrimination cases that attracted the largest awards and how they compare to the previous year’s figures.

1 Age discrimination – average award: £30,289

Age discrimination cases saw a rise in both the size of the payouts and the amount of claims accepted by employment tribunals in 2010/11. While the average award grew from £10,931 in 2009/10 to £30,289 in 2010/11, the number of cases accepted by tribunals rose by nearly one-third to reach 6,800, overtaking race discrimination cases.

The highest payout given in an age discrimination case in 2010/11 was £144,100, with 15% of winning claimants awarded £50,000 or more. This compares to a maximum award of £48,710 in 2009/10.

The majority of claims were withdrawn (40%) or settled without the need for a hearing through Acas conciliation (35%). Two per cent of claims were successful at tribunal.

View the full breakdown of age discrimination awards in 2010/11.

2 Disability discrimination – average award: £14,137

Although disability discrimination cases had the highest average award in 2009/10, in 2010/11 they fell behind age discrimination, with the average payout at £14,137, less than one-third of the figure for the previous year.

The highest award also fell significantly, from £729,347 in 2009/10 to £181,083 in 2010/11. The figure from last year was the largest ever disability discrimination award, given to Matt Driscoll, a sports writer at News of the World, who was subject to bullying and was sacked in 2007 while on long-term sick leave for stress-related depression.

Most claims were settled through Acas conciliation (46%) and 3% of claims were successful.

Find the full breakdown of disability discrimination payouts for 2010/11 here.

3 Sex discrimination – £13,911

Sex discrimination had the highest amount of cases accepted by employment tribunals, compared with other types of discrimination claims. However, the figure remained at around the same level as 2009/10, rising slightly from 18,200 cases to 18,300.

It also topped the rankings for the highest payout given for a discrimination claim in 2010/11, with the highest award reaching £289,167. However, almost all (97%) awards were less than £50,000.

Nearly half of claims were withdrawn (49%) and 2% were successful at tribunal.

More information on the different sizes of sex discrimination awards in 2010/11 can be found on XpertHR.

4 Race discrimination – £12,108

Race discrimination saw falls in both the number of cases and the size of awards in 2010/11. The number of cases accepted by employment tribunals fell from 5,700 to 5,000, while the average award dropped from £18,584 to £12,108. The largest payout also fell significantly, from £374,922 to £62,580.

The majority of cases were settled through Acas conciliation (36%) or withdrawn (28%), with 3% of all race discrimination claims being successful at tribunal.

View the full breakdown of race discrimination payouts in 2010/11.

5 Sexual orientation discrimination – £11,671

Despite ranking second in the list of discrimination claims in 2009/10 with the highest average awards, the average sexual orientation discrimination award fell from £29,384 to £11,671 in 2010/11.

The highest payout also saw a large fall, from £163,725 to £47,633, although the largest award in 2009/10 was the only sexual orientation discrimination payout to exceed £30,000 that year. Similarily, this year, all but one awards were less than £30,000.

Most cases were settled through Acas conciliation (41%) or were withdrawn (31%). Three per cent of claims were successful.

Find the full breakdown of sexual orientation discrimination awards in 2010/11 here.

6 Religious discrimination – £8,515

Payouts for religious discrimination claims were lower than in other discrimination cases, with 90% being less then £15,000. However, the average award of £8,515 was higher than in 2009/10 when the average came in at £4,886.

The largest payout also jumped, from £9,500 in 2009/10 to £20,221 this year. The number of cases fell from 1,000 to 880.

Most cases were withdrawn (29%) or settled through Acas conciliation (34%), with 3% being successful at tribunal.

More information on the different sizes of religious discrimination awards in 2010/11 are available here.

These figures are from the employment tribunals and EAT statistics covering the period from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011.

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