Dramatic increase in discrimination compensation payouts

New
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.

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

The
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.

Sex
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.

Almost
£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.

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

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

By
Johann Tasker

Comments are closed.