Increase In Vento Bands

In cases of discrimination, regardless of being direct or indirect, the Employment Tribunal may award the claimant payment for injury to feelings, in addition to any other compensation. An Injury to feelings award may be applied to all discrimination cases, with the exception of equal pay claims. The purpose of an injury to feelings award is to compensate the claimant for the personal upset caused by the accused’s conduct towards them. The award has no correlation with monetary loss and may be awarded irrespective of whether the claimant has been financially disadvantaged as a result of the discriminatory behaviour. In many instances the injury to feelings award will account for the majority of the compensation awarded to the claimant in discrimination cases (XpertHR, 2017).

The level of compensation awarded for injury to feelings is largely at the discretion of the Employment Tribunal. When deliberating a decision various factors will be taken into account such as: the individual’s personal characteristics, any relevant medical conditions, the vulnerability of the claimant and whether the employer has taken any action to make amends.

The damages for injured feelings award is based on the Vento Bands, which set out the compensation which may be awarded within the categories of lower, middle and upper. The Presidents of the Employment Tribunal have recently come to a decision to increase the bands for successful discrimination claims. The new increased bands will apply to cases submitted to the Employment Tribunal on or after the 11th of September 2017 (Just Employment Law, 2017).

The increase in the awards for each of the bands are detailed in the table below:

Band Previous award Increased award
 

Lower Band

 

£500 to £5000

 

£800 to £8,400

 

Middle Band

 

£5000 to £15,000

 

£8,400 to £25,000

 

Upper Band

 

£15,000 to £25,000

 

£25,000 to £42,000

 

The lower band is utilised in less serious cases which involve a one off isolated incident. The middle band is for cases which are more serious than those that fall within the lowest band but do not meet the criteria for the upper band. The upper band, awarding up to £42,000, is reserved for the most serious cases, in which there is evidence of discrimination and harassment which has taken place over an extended period of time.

It is evident that failing to curb discrimination in the workplace can be costly for the employer, discounting the increase in Vito bands and the potential for awards of up to £42,000 for claims, it can also increase employee turnover and absenteeism as well as decreasing employee morale and productivity (XpertHR, 2017). It is therefore essential that employers take a proactive approach to prevent discrimination from occurring in the first instance.

At HR Services Scotland we become the HR department for our clients and work in conjunction with the business to develop an equal opportunities policy, with the purpose of eliminating discrimination within the work place and ensuring compliance with the Equality Act 2010. In addition all of our HR contracts include legal indemnity insurance, via our partners at AXA, which provides cover up to £250,000 per individual claim.

If we can help you with this or any other HR issue, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our HR Team at HR Services Scotland Ltd on 0800 652 2610.

 

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