The Presidents of the Employment Tribunals in England and Wales and Scotland have updated the Vento bands used for calculating awards for injury to feelings in Employment Tribunal claims.
‘Injury to feelings’ is a compensatory award of damages, which the Tribunal can award to compensate an employee for emotional suffering resulting from the treatment that they have been subjected to, forming the basis of their claim. This compensation is considered separately from any claim for financial loss such as loss of earnings.
Tribunals ultimately have discretion as to what amount of compensation to award, but the Vento bands will be considered when determining this amount.
In respect of claims presented on or after 6 April 2023, the Vento bands are:
- Lower band of £1,100 to £11,200 (less serious cases)
- Middle band of £11,200 to £33,700 (cases that do not merit an award in the upper band)
- Upper band of £33,700 to £56,200 (the most serious cases)
As set out above, the most exceptional cases capable of exceeding £56,200.
What can employers take from this?
It’s that time of the year again when we expect to receive updates in employment law, however such increases show the significant increases there has been to inflation. Awards for such cases that relate to discrimination, harassment and whistleblowing detriments will be considered in accordance with the Vento bands and demonstrates how such awards will be made on a case-by-case basis. The tribunal will take into account a range of factors, including the upset, distress or hurt caused to the claimant, the seriousness of the unlawful treatment, and any medical condition with which the claimant suffers.
Another related aspect is the Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill which considers if claims can be pursued for harassment by third parties. This Bill is currently being reviewed by the House of Lords (second reading). If this bill was to become law, the Vento bands would also apply to these types of claims. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the tribunal would need to consider if an employer has taken all reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of its employees in the course of their employment.