In discrimination cases it is possible for a Claimant to be awarded damages for ‘injury to feelings’.
In a case called Vento -V- Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police the Court of Appeal gave guidance on the level of compensation to be awarded for injury to feelings and set out three bands for potential awards.
These guidelines have subsequently been updated in the case of Da-Bell -V- NSPCC. The three bands for compensation for injury to feelings are:-
1. Upper Band: £18,000 - £30,000.
2. Middle Band: £6,000 - £18,000.
3. Lower Band: £500 - £6,000.
The Court of Appeal in the case of Simmonds -V- Castle decided that the level of general damages in certain claims should be increased by 10% after 1st April 2013 in order to reflect the fact that Claimants were no longer able to recover success fees and, after the event, insurance premiums from the Respondents as part of the costs award.
Lawyers in Employment Tribunals argued in several cases that the uplift in general damages was applied to personal injury claims after the case of Simmonds -V- Castle should also apply to the award for injury to feelings in Employment Tribunals.
In Employment Tribunals costs do not follow the event as in personal injury claims or civil claims, and indeed costs are rarely awarded against a losing party.
In the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), in the case of Beckford -V- London Borough of Suffolk the EAT reviewed the relevant positions of the Civil Court, i.e. County Court or High Court, and Employment Tribunal claims and determined that there was no difference between the Employment Tribunal and civil cases when it came to funding arrangements for claims.
In Beckford -V- London Borough of Suffolk the EAT held that the uplift of 10% for general damages should be applied for the equivalent claims for injury to feelings in discrimination cases.
The case was reviewed in a claim called AA Solicitors Limited and Majid, where the EAT noted that there was a weight of authority in favour of the 10% uplift in applying to general damages under Simmonds -V- Castle applying to injury to feelings in Employment Tribunals.
Therefore, so far as the EAT is concerned there will be a 10% uplift to an injury to feelings award following on the case of Simmonds -V- Castle.
If you would like to discuss any employment law issues, please contact our Employment Law specialist team.