Remedies in Discrimination Claims & Average Awards

This is a short post about what you can expect to claim in a discrimination claim. It covers some of the key points, but not all relevant aspects, such as tax and interest.

The term “remedies” is used to describe what the Tribunal can award if a claim for discrimination is successful.

In other words, the “remedy” is what compensation you obtain if you win your discrimination claim – this includes claims of harassment and victimisation.


Where a Claimant succeeds in a discrimination claim, an employment tribunal may do some, or all of the following:
  • Order the Respondent to pay compensation.
  • Make an appropriate recommendation aimed at reducing the adverse effect of the discrimination on both the Claimant and the wider workforce.
  • Make a declaration as to the rights of the Claimant and the Respondent in relation to the matters to which the proceedings relate.

In most cases, we are concerned with compensation:
  1. The first head of compensation is financial loss. This covers the financial loss caused by the discriminatory act, for example, if you are dismissed for a discriminatory reason, you will seek to claim your loss of earnings.
    1. Injury to Feelings (see the “vento bands” below). An award for injury to feelings is to compensate and not to punish, and is designed to address the anger, distress and upset caused by the discrimination. There is not a separate award for each alleged act of discrimination, but if there are several caused by different protected characteristics (say some by race and others for disability), the Tribunal should make separate awards for each protected ground. However, if they overlap, because they arise from the same set of facts, the Tribunal is unlikely to make separate awards.
    2. Personal Injury. This can form part of your claim if a discriminatory act caused personal injury. There is clearly an overlap with injury to feelings.
    3. Aggravated damages. Aggravated damages are awarded in the most serious cases where the behaviour of the Respondent has aggravated the Claimant’s injury.
    4. Exemplary or “punitive” damages. Such an award is rare and can be awarded to punish the Respondent, rather than compensate the Claimant. This award is available in limited cases where the compensation itself is an insufficient punishment and the Respondent’s conduct is either:
      1. Oppressive, arbitrary or unconstitutional action by servants of the government.
      2. Calculated to make a profit which could exceed the compensation otherwise payable to the Claimant.

Usually, unless there is also some financial loss that can be attributed to the discrimination, the usual award is for injury to feelings only.

Many Claimants have a misconception at what can be claimed for and the usual levels.

Large awards are not very common.

For example, you cannot claim for:

  • Loss of reputation.
  • Injury to feelings for each alleged act of discrimination.
  • As a general rule, costs do not follow the event, so the starting point is that you are not entitled to recover your legal fees if you win.
  • Stress / inconvenience.
  • An apology.

See below the average awards and “bands” used to calculate injury to feelings. Even though injury to feelings is the most common award sought in discrimination claims, how the Tribunal arrive at the figure awarded is not an exact science and can be difficult to predict.


Average Awards

The following highest, mean and median awards were made by the tribunals.

(*The mean award is calculated by finding the total value of all awards made over the year and dividing by the number of cases in which awards were made.)

(**The median award is that which is in the middle of all the awards if they are arranged in order of value.)


(*The mean award is calculated by finding the total value of all awards made over the year and dividing by the number of cases in which awards were made.)

(**The median award is that which is in the middle of all the awards if they are arranged in order of value.)


2019/2020 Highest award Mean award* Median award**
Unfair dismissal £118,842 £10,812 £6,646
Race discrimination £30,330 £9,801 £8,040
Sex discrimination £73,619 £17,420 £14,073
Disability discrimination £265,719 £27,043 £13,000
Religious discrimination £0 £0 £0
Sexual orientation discrimination £96,645 £27,936 £9,245

 

2018/2019 Highest award Mean award* Median award**
Unfair dismissal £947,585 £13,704 £6,243
Race discrimination £33,630 £12,487 £7,882
Sex discrimination £24,103 £8,774 £6,498
Disability discrimination £416,015 £28,371 £12,156
Religious discrimination £12,000 £4,767 £1,500
Sexual orientation discrimination £0 £0 £0

 

2017/2018 Highest award Mean award* Median award**
Unfair dismissal £415,227 £15,007 £8,015
Race discrimination £124,979 £24,322 £11,299
Sex discrimination £36,616 £13,212 £10,638
Disability discrimination £242,130 £30,698 £16,523
Religious discrimination £6,846 £5,074 £5,696
Sexual orientation discrimination £24,100 £12,550 £12,550
Age discrimination £10,432 £6,796 £6,184

 

2016/2017 Highest award Mean award* Median award**
Unfair dismissal £1,744,576 £16,543 £7,521
Race discrimination £456,464 £36,853 £13,141
Sex discrimination £127,230 £19,152 £8,381
Disability discrimination £302,258 £31,988 £10,235
Religious discrimination £74,648 £20,344 £12,045
Sexual orientation discrimination £8,460 £6,026 £6,314
Age discrimination £154,309 £35,663 £15,198

 

2015/2016 Highest award Mean award* Median award**
Unfair dismissal £470,865 £13,851 £7,332
Race discrimination £43,735 £14,185 £13,706
Sex discrimination £1,762,130 £85,622 £13,500
Disability discrimination £257,127 £21,729 £11,309
Religious discrimination £45,490 £19,647 £16,174
Sexual orientation discrimination £20,192 £20,192 £20,192
Age discrimination £16,263 £9,025 £8,417

 

2014/2015 Highest award Mean award Median award
Unfair dismissal £238,216 £12,362 £6,955
Race discrimination £209,188 £17,040 £8,025
Sex discrimination £557,039 £23,478 £13,500
Disability discrimination £239,913 £17,319 £8,646
Religious discrimination £1,080 £1,080 £1,080
Sexual orientation discrimination £80,783 £17,515 £6,000
Age discrimination £28,428 £11,211 £7,500

 

2013/2014 Highest award Mean award Median award
Unfair dismissal £3,402,245 £11,813 £5,016
Race discrimination £162,593 £11,203 £5,513
Sex discrimination £168,957 £14,336 £8,039
Disability discrimination £236,922 £14,502 £7,518
Religious discrimination £22,762 £8,131 £3,191
Sexual orientation discrimination £27,659 £8,701 £6,824
Age discrimination £137,000 £18,801 £6,000

The Vento bands and subsequent increases

(These are the bands used to calculate compensation for injury to feelings).

Band Vento

(December 2002)

Da’Bell

(September 2009)

Updated – Claim brought after 06 April 2022
Top band for the most serious cases, such as where there has been a lengthy campaign of harassment. Awards can exceed this only in the most exceptional cases. £15,000 – £25,000 £18,000 – £30,000 £29,600 to £49,300
Middle band for serious cases which do not merit an award in the highest band. £5,000 – £15,000 £6,000 – £18,000 £9,900 to £29,600

 


Disclaimer

This blog is for information purposes only. Nothing should be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice and nothing written should be construed as legal advice or perceived as creating a lawyer-client relationship.

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