Injury to feelings tribunal compensation to increase

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The bands of compensation that employment tribunals can award for injury to feelings in discrimination cases – known as Vento bands – will increase this month.

From 6 April 2019, the most serious cases will attract compensation in the £26,300 to £44,000 “upper band” (previously £25,700 to £42,900).

Cases that do not merit an award in the upper band will attract compensation ranging between £8,800 and £26,300 (the middle band), while the level of compensation awarded in less serious cases will range from £900 to £8,800 (previously £8,600).

Awards in excess of £44,000 will be awarded in only the most exceptional cases.

“The updated Vento bands for injury to feelings reflect RPI increases and their announcement is a helpful reminder to employers and employees of the level of injury to feelings awards that can be made in discrimination cases,” said Charles Wynn-Evans, employment partner at Dechert.

The Vento bands were defined by the Court of Appeal in Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police (No.2) in 2003 and assist employment tribunals in determining the appropriate compensation for injury to feelings.

The Presidents of the Employment Tribunals in England and Wales and Scotland increase the bands annually on 6 April, following a consultation in 2007.

Meanwhile, employment tribunals will be able to award up to £20,000 for an aggravated breach of a worker’s employment rights from 6 April. The maximum figure was previously £5,000, which the government noted was lower than the penalty for non-payment of national minimum wage (£20,000).

The number of cases going to an employment tribunal has increased dramatically since fees were abolished in 2017. In December 2018 3,285 claims were received, compared with 2,823 the year before and 1,477 in December 2016.

In the 2017/2018 financial year, employers had to wait almost seven months on average before a tribunal claim against them could be heard.

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