Following a recent consultation, the President of the Employment Tribunals has announced a rise in the compensation that employees can recover for ‘injury to feelings’, in the event that they suffer from discrimination in the workplace.
The compensation available for injury to feelings is divided into four categories, depending on the seriousness of the discrimination that occurred, known as the Vento Bands. The increased Vento bands, which will be effective for any claims issued on of after 11 September 2017, will be as follows: £800 to £8,400 for less serious cases (the lower band), £8,400 to £25,200 for serious cases (the middle band) and £25,200 to £42,000 for the most serious cases (the upper band). In addition, compensation over £42,000 can be awarded by the Employment Tribunal in exceptional cases – as yet, it’s not clear what might be deemed exceptional for these purposes, but it is important to note that compensation could be unlimited under this category.
This increase serves as a timely reminder for employers to make sure that they are taking all reasonable steps to prevent discrimination in the workplace, including implementing up-to-date equal opportunities and anti-bullying and harassment policies, and carrying out regular diversity training. This will help to provide a statutory defence to any discrimination claim brought by an employee.