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An Update on Vento Bands

The Equality 2010 provides that compensation for discrimination may include compensation for injured feelings. An award for injury to feelings is separate from an award of compensation for financial loss. A claimant can therefore recover for injury to feelings even when they have suffered no financial loss.

Neither the Equality 2010 nor the previous discrimination legislation provides guidance as to how a tribunal should evaluate injured feelings. It has been left to the tribunals and courts to provide guidance. Awards should not be so high that they amount to a windfall nor should they be so low that they diminish respect for the law. The purpose of an injury to feelings award should be compensatory, not punitive.

Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police (No 2) [2003] IRLR 102) is the leading case in this area of law where the Court of Appeal set guidelines for the amount of compensation to be given for injured feelings. Three bands of awards were set out and these have subsequently increased in line with inflation.

The new bands have now been announced and will apply to any claims issued on or after 11 September 2017. They will be reviewed in March 2018 and thereafter annually. They are as follows:

  • Lower band (less serious cases): £800 to £8,400
  • Middle band: £8,400 to £25,200
  • Upper band (the most serious cases): £25,200 to £42,000
  • Exceptional cases: over £42,000