The Presidents of the Employment Tribunals in England & Wales and Scotland have issued updated guidance on the bands for injury to feelings compensation, also known as the Vento bands or Vento scale. From 6 April 2021, the amount that can be awarded for injury to feelings increased.

Here we outline the updated guidance and why employers need to be aware of the change.

Injury to feelings compensation explained
Employees can receive injury to feelings compensation in cases where they have been discriminated against in the workplace. 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 take into account the degree of hurt, humiliation or distress an employee has suffered as a result of discriminatory conduct.

What are Vento bands?

The Vento bands provide an indication of how much money an employee should receive as part of an injury to feelings award. They were established in the case Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police [2003], in which the Court of Appeal set clear guidelines for the amount of compensation to be given for injured feelings.

The three Vento bands outlining potential injury to feelings awards are:

Lower Band – less serious cases, for example, where the act of discrimination is an isolated or one-off occurrence.
Middle Band – cases that do not merit an award in the upper band.
Upper Band – the most serious cases, for example, where there has been a lengthy campaign of discriminatory harassment on the grounds of age, sex or race. The guidance makes it clear that only in “the most exceptional case” should an award for injury to feelings exceed the top of this band.

These guidelines are interchangeably referred to as the Vento bands or the Vento scale.

What are the changes to the Vento bands?

From 6 April 2021, the new Vento bands for injury to feelings compensation are as follows:

Lower Band: £900 to £9,100 (an increase of £100 to upper limit);
Middle Band: £9,100 to £27,400 (an increase of £400 to upper limit); and
Upper band: £27,400 to £45,600 (an increase of £600 to upper limit).

What do the new Vento bands mean for employers?

The Vento bands provide useful guidance as to how to assess the potential cost of losing a discrimination claim. In other words, should an employer be unsuccessful in defending a discrimination claim, the Employment Tribunal will use the Vento scale to determine the compensation an employee is entitled to receive for injury to feelings.

This injury to feelings compensation will be in addition to any award for loss of earnings, which can amount to a considerable sum in cases where highly paid employees are unable to work due to discrimination for extended periods of time. Moreover, there is no cap on the overall compensation awarded in discrimination cases, so successful claims can be extremely costly for businesses.

In 2019/20, age discrimination claims received the largest award on average (£39,000) compared to other discrimination jurisdictions such as race or sex. The maximum award in 2019/20 was for disability discrimination at £266,000.

With this in mind, it is vital that your organisation has thorough employment policies, procedures and training in place to reduce the risk of discrimination claims arising.

We’re here to help

In addition to the updated guidance on Vento bands, there are also five other changes to employment law that HR managers need to be aware of from April 2021.

If you need support with handling discrimination cases or any other employment-related issue, get in touch today or visit our employment law page to learn more.

Our employment team is ranked as a Leading Firm in the Legal 500 2021 edition.

Our updated guide to recovery and resilience covers everything you need to navigate your business out of lockdown, unlock your potential and make way for a brighter future. Further advice in relation to COVID-19 can be found on our dedicated coronavirus resource hub.

From inspirational SHMA Talks to informative webinars, we also have lots of educational and entertaining content for life and business. Visit SHMA® ON DEMAND.

Get In Touch

Helen is an expert in employment law and HR including all manner of employment law issues (ranging from grievances, disciplinaries, and staff training, through to complex restructures and redundancy exercises, discrimination and whistleblowing Employment Tribunal claims and TUPE advice). She also deals with commercial matters for her clients, such as NDAs, terms and conditions and service agreements (including high value cross-border commercial contracts).

Written By

Published: 6th April 2021
Area: Employment

How We Can Help

Employment

From guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and support with largescale redundancies, to working from home and policies and other workplace issues, our team of experts are on hand to work with your HR teams to help with any issue, large or small.

Our Latest New Legislation Updates

Our experts are here to answer any questions you might have

If you’d like to speak to a member of our team, please fill out the enquiry form. We will aim to reply to your query within 2 hours

Need to talk to someone sooner? You can call using the number below

Call Us: 0330 024 0333