05 September 2017
Increased awards for discriminated employees
Following consultation, the President of the Employment Tribunals in England & Wales and Scotland has announced a significant rise in the compensation employees receive if they suffer discrimination.
Known as Vento bands, the amount compensates employees for the hurt and upset caused as a result of discrimination (be it due to their sex, race, disability, sexual orientation etc). It is awarded on top of the amount the employee is paid for any loss suffered if, for example, they have lost their job or been denied a promotion.
The increases, which will be reviewed in March 2018 and every year thereafter, 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
Jo Davis, employment partner at B P Collins, comments: "Employers should take heed of this increase. Although top management may act fairly towards their employees, companies are generally liable for the acts of their employees from top to bottom. So sales staff indulging in sexist office banter or sharing risqué pictures can land the whole company in hot water. The financial and reputational damage from such claims can be hugely harmful for businesses, large and small.
"The best way to avoid claims is to take all reasonable steps to ensure that staff recognise discriminatory behaviour and understand that it will not be tolerated. So employers should check that their Equal Opportunity policies are up to date and that their employees have had the requisite diversity training. Not only will this help prevent claims arising but also, if someone breaks the rules, give the employer a statutory defence to any resulting discrimination claim."