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How is financial compensation in a discrimination claim valued?

View profile for Kasey Hamer
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What is the value of a discrimination claim? This is a question which is frequently asked by those seeking to pursue a claim under the Equality Act 2010, or by those seeking to defend a claim pursued against them.

Financial compensation in these claims is often recovered for actual financial losses, injury to feelings and injury to health. ‘Aggravated damages’ can also be awarded.

Financial losses are calculated according to any actual financial loss suffered by a claimant, as a result of the discriminatory act. This could be, for example, loss of earnings due to termination of employment, or for the recovery of money paid for a service, which the person was subsequently unable to access due to the acts of discrimination experienced.

An award for injury to feelings will almost always be made if a person is successful with a claim of discrimination. Any award for injury to feelings will be calculated based upon the ‘Vento scale’ which was established through case law and is periodically uplifted. Currently, the Vento scale, for claims presented on or after 06 April 2023, states that:

  • An award of between £1,100 and £11,200 should be made in ‘less serious cases’
  • An award of between £11,200 and £33,700 should be made in cases that ‘do not merit an award in the upper band’
  • An award of between £33,700 and £56,200 should be made in ‘the most serious cases’

The most exceptional cases are capable of exceeding this amount. The Vento scale is merely guidance for a court or tribunal, and there is no cap imposed on such awards.

Injury to Health is a claim made for any physical or psychiatric injury suffered as a result of the discriminatory act. An award for injury to health is calculated using the Judicial College Guidelines and is based upon the type and severity of the injury.

Aggravated damages are also available for a claim brought pursuant to the Equality Act 2010 and will be awarded in cases where a party has acted in a ‘high handed, malicious, insulting or oppressive manner in committing the act of discrimination’. A court or tribunal will not be bound by the Vento scale when considering an award of aggravated damages, but proportionality and fairness is the goal. There is no guidance in respect of how to calculate such damages, except case law, and therefore, each case will be considered on its own facts.

In the event that you have further queries regarding a claim brought pursuant to the Equality Act 2010, please do not hesitate to contact our specialist discrimination law department today.