New Vento bands for injury to feelings and psychiatric injury have been released by the Presidents of the Employment Tribunals of England & Wales and Scotland.
In Employment Tribunal claims for discrimination, if the claim succeeds the tribunal has the power to make an award of compensation for something called ‘injury to feelings’.
Using guidelines that were established in a landmark case, injury to feelings compensation is assessed in ‘bands’ and have increased for cases brought on or after 6 April 2022.
What are Vento bands?
The Vento bands are named after a landmark case from 2003 (Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police) where the Court of Appeal set out clear guidelines for courts and tribunals to apply when they are assessing injury to feelings awards.
A fifth addendum to the Presidential Guidance (which was originally published on 5 September 2017) was published on 28 March 2022. The addendum updates, but does not otherwise replace, the first, second, third and fourth addenda, which remain relevant to claims presented before 6 April 2022.
The updated Vento bands, which apply to any claims presented on or after 6 April 2022, are:
In respect of claims presented in Scotland, the bands remain subject to paragraph 12 of the Presidential Guidance issued on 5 September 2017.
What is an injury to feelings?
Under the Equality Act 2010, employees can be awarded compensation for ‘injury to feelings’ and awards are made at some level in virtually every successful discrimination claim.
Injury to feelings awards are intended to compensate for the negative impact of discrimination on an employee’s emotional wellbeing.
The amount awarded is designed to consider the degree of hurt, humiliation or distress an employee has suffered as a result of discriminatory conduct.
Rather than punish the employer, the compensation for injury to feelings is intended to reflect the injury to feelings that the employee has suffered.
Several factors should be considered in each case including:
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