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Update Vento guidelines April 2020

The presidents of the employment tribunals (England & Wales, and Scotland) have issued new presidential guidance updating the Vento banding guidelines for damages for injury to feeling to come into force from 6 April 2020.

What are the Vento band guidelines?

In employment cases involving unlawful discrimination, tribunals may, at their discretion, make an award for “injury to feelings” under the Equality Act 2010. In short, this is an award for damages as a remedy for things such as humiliation, degrading treatment or distress suffered by the employee. Note that any such award is entirely separate to the financial loss suffered by the victim and lays separately alongside this.

The Vento bands therefore act as a guideline for the tribunals to calculate the amount to award for “injury to feeling”.

What are the Vento bands increasing to?

From 6 April 2020 the Vento bands will be increased to the following:

  • £900 - £9,000 for lower band offences;
  • £9,000 - £27,000 for middle band offences; and
  • £27,000 to £45,000 for upper band offences.

Please note though that in the most serious cases it is possible for tribunals to award in excess of £45,000. Tribunals are not bound by these guidelines but must take them into account when make an award.

What type of cases sit within each band?

Lower band offences will typically be awarded in cases involving one-off incidences of discrimination such as a single discriminatory insult or slur.

Middle band offences will cover serious cases, which could include a serious one-off incident, where an award in the upper band is not appropriate.

Upper band offences are reserved for the most serious offences such as discriminatory campaigns in the workplace which result in a profound impact on the victim such as causing depression, anxiety or extreme distress.

Are awards for injury to feeling always awarded?

No – this is an entirely discretionary award which tribunals may make.

In determining whether an award would be appropriate the tribunal will consider all of the facts of the case including things such as the vulnerability of the employee, the seriousness of the treatment and the impact the discriminatory treatment had on the employee.

Disclaimer

This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.

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