Workplace Discrimination Compensation

Discrimination Compensation

Discrimination compensation refers to the amount of money that an Employment Tribunal can award if a discrimination claim succeeds. However, there are two main ways to obtain compensation if you have been discriminated against:

(1) Through an out-of-court settlement with your employer.

(2) By presenting a claim and being awarded compensation by the Employment Tribunal.

We set out below the main heads of claim, which are the types of compensation available when discrimination claims are presented. Understanding compensation for discrimination claims is important when deciding how to tackle discrimination at work.

However, it is important to point out, that presenting a discrimination claim at the Employment Tribunal can take a long time (often 1-2 years) and the claim may not succeed, meaning you will be awarded no compensation. It is, therefore, a useful exercise to understand the potential value of your claim, to then take steps to obtain compensation via an out-of-court settlement and discounting the amount accepted to reflect (1) accelerated receipt (getting paid soon rather than 1-2 years after a Tribunal claim concludes) and (2) guaranteed payment (so not risking getting zero compensation if the claim fails).

Discrimination Compensation – Heads of Claims

We set out below the main types of discrimination compensation. This compensation is available in claims of:

When 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.

The most common “remedies” available for discrimination claims are:

Financial Loss – This covers the financial loss caused by discrimination. For example, if your dismissal was discriminatory, you would claim for any loss of earnings. If the decision not to offer you a promotion was discriminatory, then you may claim any difference in salary if the promotion came with a pay rise.

Injury to Feelings – 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. The award for injury to feelings is separated into three bands:

Compensation for discrimination claims can vary drastically and the amount awarded is case-specific.

Bands 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. wards 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
Bottom band for less serious cases, such as a one-off incident or an isolated event. £500 – £5,000 £600 – £6,000 £990 – £9,900

Personal Injury – This can form part of your claim if an act of discrimination causes personal injury. There is an overlap with injury to feelings.

The Tribunal can also make an award for the following, but these are rare:

Aggravated damages – Aggravated damages are awarded in the most serious cases where the behaviour of the Respondent has aggravated the Claimant’s injury to feelings.

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 most common award is for injury to feelings only.

If you believe you have been discriminated against, it is important to act quickly, as there are strict time limits to take action. You can see more information on Employment Tribunal Time Limits here.

Taking professional advice to understand the strength and potential value of your claims if often vital, so you can understand if you have the opportunity to obtain compensation sooner rather than later. Further, professional advice may enable you to avoid a lengthy Tribunal claim that is unlikely to gain you anything except a lot of stress and time wasted. You can better understand compensation for discrimination claims if you work with an expert in this area.

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