Effective from 6 April 2019, compensation for injury to feelings awards arising out of discrimination cases will be as follows:
- A lower band of £900 to £8,800 for the less serious cases
- A middle band of £8,800 to £26,300 for serious cases
- An upper band of £26,300 to £44,000 for the most serious cases, with the most exceptional cases being capable of exceeding £44,000.
Where do the Vento bands come from?
The genesis of the Vento bands goes back to the Court of Appeal’s decision in Vento v The Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police (No 2) in which the Court of Appeal identified three bands of potential awards for discrimination claims.
The lower band applies to “less serious cases, such as where the act of discrimination is an isolated or one off occurrence”. The middle band “should be used for serious cases, which do not merit an award in the highest band”, and the top band is imposed in “the most serious cases, such as where there has been a lengthy campaign of discriminatory harassment”. An award of compensation for injury to feelings that exceeds this top band will only be made in the most exceptional case.
What does this mean for employers?
In light of the increased awards, employers would be well advised to ensure that they are taking all possible reasonable steps to prevent unlawful discrimination from occurring in the workplace by adopting up-to-date policies. Failure to do so might very well result in employers being exposed to significant financial liabilities.
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