The level of damages awarded with ‘injury to feelings’ in discrimination cases have now been updated.

Statutory Limits:

Each year, the Government reviews and increases the statutory maximum limits payable to claimants in successful employment tribunal cases. From 6 April 2019, The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2019 (SI 2019/324) introduced revised limits, including the following figures:

Compensation Limit                             Until 5 April 2019     From 6 April 2019

Maximum limit on a week’s pay                             £508                             £525

Maximum compensation Unfair Dismissal   £83,682                       £86,444

Minimum Basic Award Unfair Dismissal*        £6,203                          £6,408

*dismissals for reasons of trade union membership or activities, health and safety duties, pension scheme trustee duties or acting as an employee representative or workforce representative

For a comprehensive list of the latest figures, please click here.

Vento guidelines updated:

When assessing compensation in discrimination cases, an employment tribunal can make awards for ‘injury to feelings’. This aims to compensate claimants for the hurt and suffering that they have endured.

The level of the award will depend upon the severity of the respondent’s actions, but the amount will usually fall within one of three ‘bands’, known as the ‘Vento bands’ following the case of Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police [2003] IRLR 102. In that case, the Court of Appeal suggested that courts should consider classifying awards as falling within the ‘lower’, ‘middle’ or ‘upper’ bands.

The Presidents of the Employment Tribunals (England & Wales) and (Scotland) have recently reviewed the level of damages in each band and have adjusted the parameters to take account of inflation. From 6 April 2019, the bands are now as follows:

  • lower band (less serious cases): £900 to £8,800
  • middle band: £8,800 to £26,300
  • upper band (the most serious cases): £26,300 to £44,000

It is noteworthy that the Vento guidelines are not mandatory, and the courts and tribunals have discretion as to the level of damages to award, taking into account the facts and circumstances of each case.

If you would like more information on the contents of this article or on employment law in general please contact Debbie Sadler on 01494 478671 or email