Awards for injury to feelings

The case of Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police (No 2) [2003] IRLR 102 coined the phrase “Vento bands” in establishing three bands of compensation in discrimination cases involving an award for injury to feelings.

The rates were increased in 2010 following the case of Da’Bell v NSPCC [201] IRLR 19 and in 2012 a civil case, Simmons v Castle [2012] EWCA Civ 1039 raised debate as to whether Tribunals should award a 10% uplift on Vento bands, in line with the County Courts.

The 10% uplift was held to apply to injury to feelings awards in the Tribunals following De Souza v Vinci Construction (UK) Ltd [2017] IRLR 844, with guidance to be provided as to appropriate awards from the Presidents of the Employment tribunals of England & Wales and Scotland.

The guidance was updated in April 2018 and it is understood will update each year to reflect inflation.

The current bands are:

  • Lower band - £900 to £8,800, this is for less serious cases of discrimination including one-off acts of minor harassment or discrimination;
  • Middle Band - £8,800 to £26,300, this is for a serious one-off act of harassment or a long period of serious discrimination or a relatively minor discrimination which causes the loss of your job; and
  • Upper band - £26,300 to £44,000, this is for a long campaign of discrimination or harassment.

In the most exceptional cases the upper band limit may be exceeded.

Where an award for injury to feelings relates to events pre-termination, there is no tax payable on the award. Where the award is connected to a dismissal, it is taxable.

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