Compensation in discrimination cases under the Equality Act 2010

by Direct 2 Lawyers on April 4, 2013

We’ll take a look in this post at discrimination claims in the Employment Tribunal and the compensation that is normally awarded in such cases. In doing so, we’ll examine the following issues:

  1. What is a claim for discrimination?
  2. What types of compensation can be awarded in a claim for discrimination?
  3. What awards are normally made in discrimination cases?

What is a claim for discrimination?

Generically, discrimination occurs when an individual or a group is treated in a prejudicial or distinguishing way because of their actual or perceived membership of a certain group or category. In a workplace context, workers are protected from being subjected to such treatment under the Equality Act 2010. There are a number of types of discrimination which workers are protected from under the Equality Act, including (but certainly not limited to):

  1. Direct discrimination (treating a person less favourably because of their protected characteristic)
  2. Indirect discrimination (subjecting a person to a practice, criterion or provision which substantially disadvantages them because of their protected characteristic, and doesn’t so disadvantage other persons)

There a re a variety of other “types” of discrimination under the Equality Act 2010, including a failure to make reasonable adjustments, discrimination related to disability and pregnancy and maternity-related discrimination.

What types of compensation can be awarded in a claim for discrimination?

The following types of compensation can be awarded in a claim for discrimination:

  1. Compensation for injury to feelings (an award based upon an objective and a subjective analysis of the seriousness of the discrimination that the worker has suffered using what is known as the “Vento bracket”)
  2. Aggravated damages (an extra award where the distress caused by the discrimination is a) exceptionally upsetting because the Claimant has been treated in a “high-handed, malicious, insulting or oppressive way”, b) based on a vindictive motive, or c) aggravated by conduct after the discrimination i.e. the way in which an Employment Tribunal hearing has been conducted
  3. Damages to health (if a Claimant has suffered serious psychological traum as a result of the discrimination claim then they can try and make a claim for damages to health)
  4. Exemplary damages (awarded to punish particularly serious conduct on the behalf of the Respondent)

What awards are normally made in discrimination cases?

Awards made in discrimination cases are primarily composed of compensation for injury to feelings. This is based upon an analysis (as above) of the objective and subjective seriousness of the conduct that the Claimant has been subjected to. Generally, there are three “brackets” of discrimination (known as the “Vento brackets”):

  1. Very serious cases of discrimination (awards of between £15,000 and £25,000)
  2. Serious cases of discrimination (awards of between £5,000 and £15,000)
  3. Less serious cases of discrimination (awards of between £500 and £5,000)

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