The President of the Employment Tribunals in England and Wales has released new guidance on Vento bands in respect of compensation awards for injury to feelings on or after 6 April 2018. The Employment Tribunal may order a respondent to pay an award of compensation for injured feelings (whether or not it includes compensation on any other basis). This award is intended to provide a remedy for any hurt, humiliation and degradation suffered by an employee.

The Vento bands provide guidance as to the amount of compensation that should be awarded for injured feelings according to the seriousness of the injury to feelings. The bands were first set out by the Court of Appeal in Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police (No.2) [2002] EWCA Civ 1871. In Vento, the court identified three broad bands for injury to feelings awards: the lower, middle and upper bands. The Employment Appeal Tribunal subsequently revisited the bands in 2009 and uprated them to account for inflation. In 2016, the EAT stated that the bands can be adjusted by individual Tribunals where there is cogent evidence of the rate of change in the value of money.

Most recently, in 2017, the Court of Appeal ruled in De Souza v Vinci Construction (UK) Ltd [2017] EWCA Civ 879 that the 10% uplift to general damages in all civil claims should also apply to Employment Tribunal awards for injury to feelings. In De Souza, the Court of Appeal also invited the President of the Employment Tribunals in England and Wales to provide fresh guidance in relation to adjusting the Vento Bands to account for inflation and so as to incorporate the 10% uplift.

The President’s guidance was released on 5 September 2017 and provides that the new bands in respect of claims on or after 6 April 2018 are as follows:

  • A lower band of £900 to £8,600 (less serious cases);

  • A middle band of £8,600 to £25,700 (cases that do not merit an award in the upper band); and

  • An upper band of £25,700 to £42,900 (the most serious cases), with the most exceptional cases capable of exceeding £42,900.

Employment Tribunals will not be bound by the Vento bands but they must have regard to the bands in making an award for injury to feelings.