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How much is my discrimination claim worth? Calculating ‘injury to feelings’

Discrimination can rear its ugly head in many forms. The Equality Act 2010 provides some protection, prohibiting discrimination in certain circumstances against people on the basis of their age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.

If someone has been directly or indirectly discriminated against because of one of these ‘protected characteristics’, then they may be entitled to more than just compensation for their losses. The Equality Act also provides for damages to be awarded for the hurt, humiliation and degradation suffered due to the discrimination itself, but how exactly can ‘injury to feelings’ be calculated?

The short answer is it is a matter for the court to decide based on how serious the discrimination was and the extent of its impact upon the individual.

However, guidelines have been set out in caselaw and subsequent regulations. In a case called Vento back in 2003, the Court of Appeal set out some guideline bands for what it saw as 3 different categories of seriousness. These have since been updated in the case of Da’Bell in 2009 and more recently (from 6 April 2021) in guidance issued by the Employment Tribunal. They are:

  1. The lower band. This covers one-off, less serious cases of discrimination such a a single discriminatory slur or insult, and attracts awards of between £900 and £9,100;
  2. The middle band. This is for more serious cases. Examples may include where there has been a single but serious incident of discrimination, or multiple and sustained less serious incidents. Awards in this band are between £9,100 to £27,400;
  3. The higher band. This is for the most serious cases, such as where there has been a lengthy campaign of discriminatory harassment and/or victimisation leading to extreme distress, anxiety or depression. Awards in this band generally fall between £27,400 and £45,600, but the court has the discretion to go higher in the rare case where the discrimination is so egregious that this will not suffice.

If you believe you have been the victim of discrimination, discriminatory harassment, or victimisation for speaking out about it, please contact our specialist housing discrimination solicitors who would be happy to assist you. Call now 0330 822 3451.