Dramatic increase in discrimination compensation payouts

discrimination laws introduced at the start of the week could spell trouble for
employers after it emerged that compensation costs for workplace discrimination
have climbed dramatically in the past year.

failure to prevent discrimination cost employers £6.41m in 2002 – a rise of 65
per cent.

number of awards rose by 27 per cent to 418, according to research by the
specialist journal Equal Opportunities Review (EOR). The annual survey included
two record payouts.

discrimination accounted for 56 per cent of the £6.41m – including a record
award of £1.37m. Race discrimination accounted for 32 per cent – including
another record payout of £761,867. Disability discrimination accounted for 12
per cent.

£2m was awarded for injury to feelings – a 34 per cent increase on 2001. And
the number of awards made by tribunals in cases involving dismissal on grounds
of pregnancy rose 57 per cent.

high payouts resulted in a 31 per cent rise in the average total award.

laws designed to prevent discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation,
religion or belief came into force at the start of the week.

Johann Tasker

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