The Employment Appeal Tribunal has ruled that the bands for damages awarded for injury to feelings in unlawful discrimination cases (known as “Vento” damages) should be increased in line with inflation, with immediate effect.
- The upper limit of the lower band has increased to £6,000 (from £5,000). The lower band is used to award compensation in less serious cases which involve for example a one-off act of discrimination;
- The upper limit of the middle band has increased to £18,000 (from £15,000). The middle band covers more serious cases of discrimination but which do not fall within the highest band;
- The upper limit of the highest band has increased to £30,000 (from £25,000). This band will apply to the most serious cases, where a person has suffered a sustained and lengthy period of discrimination.
The EAT considered that it was appropriate to uplift damages guidelines from time to time and agreed with the (undisputed) approach of the parties that the appropriate method to use for such an uplift was an increase in line with the retail price index.
The EAT also noted that appeals against the particular band of damages used by a tribunal to determine an award for injury to feelings would be more likely to be successfully challenged on a question of law than the amount of the award itself, which was more likely to be a question of fact, based on the individual circumstances of each case. The EAT stated that it would not “interfere” with findings on the placement, within a band, of an award unless they were “manifestly wrong”.