The EAT in AA Solicitors v Majid has given the green light to inflation adjust injury to feelings awards. The Claimant was dismissed for having rejected her boss's numerous sexual advances. The EAT upheld the Tribunal's decision to award her £14,000 for injury to feelings. Significantly, having not increased the Vento injury to feelings bands since 2009, the EAT announced that Employment Tribunals do not need to await further guidance from the EAT in order to adjust the guidelines for injury to feelings awards to reflect inflation. It also addressed recent conflicting decisions about whether Tribunals should apply the 10% Simmons v Castle uplift to injury for feelings awards. It said that until the Court of Appeal determines otherwise, Tribunals should also apply the 10% uplift, which has applied to general damages awards in the civil courts since Claimants were prevented from recovering success fees and after the event insurance premiums from their opponents in 2013.
The latest Retail Prices Index (RPI) published by the Office of National Statistics for July 2016 suggested an RPI increase of nearly 23% since 2009. This indicates that the upper limit of the top Vento band could now be as much as £48,700, also taking into account the 10% Simmons uplift. Employers should factor this in when assessing their potential liability for injury to feelings in discrimination claims.