Annual increase to the Vento Bands

The Presidents of the Employment Tribunals in England & Wales and Scotland have published the annual increase to the “Vento Bands” that will apply for ‘injury to feelings’ awards in discrimination cases presented on or after 6th April 2023.

What does injury to feelings mean?

Most of the compensation awarded in Employment Tribunal claims, such as unfair dismissal, are based on financial loss.

In discrimination, harassment, and whistleblowing cases however, successful claimants can be awarded their financial losses (usually where they are dismissed) but can also claim an award for ‘injury to feelings’ under the Equality Act 2010, in certain circumstances.

Compensation for injury to feelings is not a punishment to the employer, it is instead intended to reflect the extent of the injury to feelings or ‘hurt’ that the claimant has suffered.

What are the Vento bands?

The Vento bands are tiers or levels of ‘injury to feeling’ that a Tribunal might award compensation within, and which were established in the case of Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police.

They are as follows:

  • Lower band – least serious cases, i.e., a one-off discriminatory act.
  • Middle band – serious cases where an award in the highest band would not be appropriate.
  • Upper band – most serious cases fall into this band.

The compensation available within the bands has seen various revisions over the years to account for inflation and the like. The new bands for cases presented on or after 6th April 2023 are as follows:

Bands Previous 2022 Range New 2023 Range
Lower band £990 to £9,900 £1,100 to £11,200
Middle band £9,900 to £29,600 £11,200 to £33,700
Upper band £29,600 to £49,300 £33,700 to £56,200

 

In exceptional cases, there is scope for awards to exceed the £56,200 at the top of the Upper band.

Comment

Employers should note that when assessing awards for injury to feelings, the Tribunal will take into account a range of factors such as the distress or hurt caused to the Claimant, the seriousness of the unlawful treatment and, potentially, any medical condition suffered by the Claimant.

It should be noted that the Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill which is currently being reviewed by the House of Lords, includes provision for claims to once again be pursued for harassment at work by third parties. This is important to keep an eye on given that if the Bill becomes law, employers may be liable for the acts of harassment by third parties and the Vento bands would cover any award for injury to feelings in these types of claims as well.

Case Reference: Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police (No 2) [2003] IRLR 102

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