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Discrimination compensation set to increase

Compensation for all types of discrimination is unlimited (unlike most unfair dismissal cases, where there is a statutory cap). Most of the highest compensation awards in discrimination cases comprise substantial loss of earnings and future loss of earnings awards. Gill Switalski, for example, secured a multi million pound settlement of her sex discrimination claim against F&C Asset Management, which was largely made up of estimated future loss of earnings. However, a significant part of compensation in discrimination cases is an award for injury to feelings caused by the discrimination. In some cases, especially where there has not been any loss of earnings, this can make up the bulk of any award. The government provides guidance every year on the relevant limits of compensation for injury to feelings. That guidance has now been published for claims presented after 6 April 2021. The guidance differentiates between less serious cases and the most serious cases, using a system that is commonly known as the “Vento bands”, named after a previously decided (and now famous) discrimination claim. The relevant bands are as follows:

  • Lower band – £900 to £9,100 (less serious cases)
  • Middle band – £9,100 to £27,400 (cases that do not merit an award in the upper band)
  • Upper band of £27,400 to £45,600 (the most serious cases)

In rare and exceptional cases, compensation for injury to feelings could exceed £45,600.

Surprisingly, in most discriminatory dismissal cases, compensation for injury to feelings usually falls in the low to middle band, albeit claimants can claim compensation for loss of earnings in addition to this (as was the case in Switalski v F&C Asset Management).

The types of discrimination cases to which this guidance relates include sex, race, age, religion and belief, disability, sexuality and trans-gender discrimination.

If you have experienced discrimination in the workplace or have any questions, get in touch with the Linder Myers team today: enquiries@lindermyers.co.uk.

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