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Discrimination guidance for employers

In general, an employer is responsible for the actions of its staff. In circumstances where one worker discriminates against another, unless the employer can demonstrate that it took all reasonable steps to prevent the perpetrator from committing the discriminatory acts alleged (this is a difficult threshold to meet), if the claim is successful the employer will be liable and will be ordered to pay compensation to the claimant.

While there is no formal limit placed upon the amount a court can award in a claim for discrimination, the senior appeal courts have set out a range of awards for injury to feelings called the ‘Vento scale’. The Vento scale increases annually each April to take into account the rate of inflation; the most recent change was made in April 2022.

If you are an employer and you are facing a discrimination claim, whether it be from a present or former employee, get in touch with Stephensons today by calling 0161 696 6170 and speaking to one of our specialist solicitors.


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The Vento scale

The current Vento bands are as follows:

  • Lower band: £900 to £9,100 (for less serious cases, such as where there was an isolated incident or one-off occurrence)
  • Middle band: £9,100 to £27,400 (for more serious cases, which do not merit an award in the highest band)
  • Upper band: £27,400 to £45,600 (for the most serious cases, such as where there has been a lengthy campaign of discrimination)

It is against the law to discriminate against anyone because of:

  • A person’s age
  • A person’s gender reassignment
  • A person being married or in a civil partnership
  • A person being pregnant or on maternity leave
  • A person’s disability
  • A person’s race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin
  • A person’s religion or belief
  • A person’s sex
  • A person’s sexual orientation

Discrimination can take a number of different forms, namely:

  • Direct discrimination
  • Indirect discrimination
  • Failure to make reasonable adjustment for those who are disabled
  • Discrimination arising from a disability
  • Harassment
  • Victimisation

Given the nature and extent of the risks which claims for discrimination can pose to employers, it is important that organisations have comprehensive policies and procedures in place which comply with current legislation and have access to specialist legal advice as and when required.

At Stephensons, we have tailored HR support packages to assist employers in resolving all types of workplace disputes, including the complex issue of discrimination. To speak to a member of our team, call us on 0161 696 6170.

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