Compensation for discrimination claims can include an award for injury to feelings. The Vento Guidelines were set by the Court of Appeal in Vento v The Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police  EWCA Civ 1871, and provide guidance for the correct amount of compensation. Daniel Barnett reports that HHJ McMullen, in the recent (and as yet unreported) case of Da’Bell v NSPCC that the bands are to be increased in line with inflation, as follows:
- Upper band: Was Â£15,000 – Â£25,000, now increased to Â£18,000 – Â£30,000. The most serious cases, such as where there has been a lengthy campaign of discriminatory harassment. Only in the most exceptional case should an award of compensation for injury to feelings exceed Â£30,000.
- Middle band: Was Â£5,000 – Â£15,000, now increased to Â£6,000 – Â£18,000. The middle band should be used for serious cases, which do not merit an award in the highest band.
- Lower band: Was Â£500* – Â£5,000, now increased to Â£? – Â£6,000. Less serious cases, such as where the act of discrimination is an isolated or one off occurrence. In general, awards of less than Â£500 are to be avoided altogether, as they risk being regarded as so low as not to be a proper recognition or injury to feelings.
The ranges are still large, of course, and tribunals have a wide range of discretion in determining the seriousness of any discrimination and the appropriate compensation payable.
A full report of Da’Bell will be posted as soon as it is available – we don’t know if the EAT specified a change to the minimum award in the lower bracket.
*a number of other decisions of the EAT have resulted in many lawyers regarding Â£750 as the actual minimum. Certainly any award falling below Â£500 is likely to be appealable.