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Discrimination: Injury to Feelings

We are Discrimination and Injury to Feelings Solicitors:

When do Tribunals make awards for ‘Injury to Feelings’, and how much will they give the Claimant?

Awards for ‘Injury to Feelings’ can be made by a Tribunal when there has been direct statutory discrimination. In practice this means when a Tribunal makes a finding of unlawful discrimination, harassment or victimisation on the grounds of the Protected Characteristics of age, race / nationality, sex, disability, sexual orientation, or religious belief etc under the Equality Act 2010.


A similar award of ‘detriment’ can also be made when an employee has been subject to a detriment as a result of making a ‘protected disclosure’ under the so called whistleblowers act (incorporated into the Employment Rights Act 1996). However awards of injury to feelings cannot currently be made in claims of unfair dismissal, even if someone is forced out of a job as a result of bullying. There may be other avenues open to the Claimant, for example a claim under the Protection from Harassment Act or for psychological damage.


It will up to the Tribunal to assess the actual injury to feelings to the Claimant in the particular case. No two people will take something the same way and equally it can be difficult to guess the amount an Employment Tribunal might award for injury to feelings.


Guidance was given on awards for injury to feeings in Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, in 2002, and that guidance was updated in Da’Bell v NSPCC by the EAT in 2010 stating that the Vento guidelines, used to assess compensation for injury to feelings in discrimination cases, should be up-rated to take account of inflation. The Vento guidelines in line with the Retail Prices Index have therefore been revised as follows:


For claims issued on or following 6 April 2020 awards for injury to feelings in discrimination claims may be as follows:

  • Lower band: for less serious cases: £900  to  £9,000 (up to £8,800 for claims submitted before 6 April 2020)
  • Middle band: for cases that do not merit an award in the upper band: £9,000 to £27,000 (up to £26,300 for claims before 6 April 2020)
  • Upper band: for the most serious cases: £27,000 to  £45,0000 (up to £44,00 for claims before 6 April 2020)
  • Exceptional cases may be £45,000 or more (previously £44,000 or more)


Frankly, what a Tribunal will award for injury to feelings is often a bit of a lottery. Average awards for injury to feelings are often in the low thousands.


A Claimant’s claim for injury to feelings may for example be greater if they have been diagnosed with depression etc as a result of the treatment to which they have been subjected.

Speak to a solicitor today to discuss this further on 0207 118 0950.

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