The Court of Appeal has held that the 10% increase in certain types of awards in county courts should also apply to awards in the employment tribunal for injury to feelings and personal injury.
In 2013, the Court of Appeal held that the level of damages in certain types of claims should be increased by 10% after 1 April 2013. There have been conflicting decisions in the EAT as to whether this increase should apply to awards for injury to feelings and personal injury in employment tribunals.
Ms Pereira de Souza brought disability discrimination claims against her former employer, and was awarded £9,000 for injury to feelings and £3,000 for psychiatric injury arising out of the discrimination. The employment tribunal applied the 10% uplift to the personal injury award but not to the award for injury to feelings. Both Ms Pereira de Souza and her former employer appealed, and the case ended up in the Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal held that the 10% uplift should apply both to the personal injury and injury to feelings awards. The Court of Appeal recommended consultation followed by guidance on how to calculate any uplift for inflation in the current bands of level of awards (known as the Vento awards). This consultation paper has now been issued and proposed new Vento awards of:
- £1,000 to £8,000 in the lower band
- £8,000 to £25,000 in the middle band
- £25,000 to £42,000 in the top band.
What does this mean for employers?
This represents an increase in potential liability for employers facing discrimination claims.
The Presidents of the Employment Tribunals in England and Wales and Scotland judicial consultation seeks views on the proposed revised bands for compensation to injury to feelings in discrimination claims, as outlined above. The consultation closes on 25 August 2017. Whatever the outcome, losing a discrimination, or personal injury claim, will become more expensive for employers.