The Presidents of the Employment Tribunals have issued a consultation on increasing the vento bands in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI) rather than the Consumer Price Index.
The bands for damages for injury to feelings and psychiatric injury were updated for inflation eight years ago in Da’Bell v NSPCC. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) set the bands at:
- Lower band: £600 to £6,000
- Middle band: £6,000 to £18,000
- Upper band: £18,000 to £30,000
The EAT has since stated bands and awards for injury to feelings can be adjusted where there is cogent evidence of the rate of change in the value of money, but the bands have not been formally updated since 2009.
Should the bands be increased?
The Presidents of the Employment Tribunals have recommended using the RPI as the measure of inflation and provide a method for applying the uplift. They have proposed the following new bands:
- Lower band: £1,00 to £8,000
- Middle band: £8,000 to £25,000
- Upper band: £25,000 to £42,000
Responses to these proposals are invited by Friday 25 August 2017.
Increasing the bands in line with RPI would mean that they would probably then increase every 12 months without further consultation. “Injury to feelings” then becomes a significant head of loss, particularly in serious cases, and employers should be mindful that damages awards in discrimination cases, whilst not calculated on a punitive basis, could nevertheless go well beyond an employee's actual monetary loss.