Injury to feelings – an increase?

The award of injury to feelings in Employment Tribunal claims is intended to compensate the Claimant for the anger, distress and upset caused by the unlawful treatment they have received.

The seminal case in this area was Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police (No2) [2003] IRLR 102) which sought to assess damages by reference to bands of seriousness.

After the case of Da’Bell v NSPCC [2010] IRLR 19, the Tribunal applied inflation to the earlier Vento guidance to give awards in the lower band of between £600 and £6,000, the middle band between £6,000 and £18,000 and the upper band from £18,000 to £30,000.

In the later case of Simmons v Castle [2012] EWCA Civ 1288 the Court of Appeal announced that with effect from 1 April 2013, general damages in tort cases would be increased by 10% on existing levels.

However, the Employment Appeal Tribunal in Chawla v Hewlett Packard Ltd [2015] UKEAT/427/13/2502, a disability employment case, stated that the civil court ruling in Simmons would not apply in the Employment Tribunal.

Accordingly, for now, it would seem that damages for injury to feeling in the Employment Tribunal will remain as before, although inflation will continue to be relevant to the Tribunal when setting the award. Claims in the Civil courts, however, will increase in line with Simmons.