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Employment tribunals - discrimination - examples of how much might be given for injury to your feelings

This advice applies to Scotland

If you're making a discrimination claim, you can claim compensation for injury to your feelings as well as for your financial losses. This means you're claiming compensation for the upset, hurt and distress the discrimination has caused you.

This page gives you examples of how much a tribunal might award you for injury to feelings.

What affects how much a tribunal can award for injury to feelings?

Factors which affect the amount of compensation you're likely to get for injury to feelings include:

  • whether whoever discriminated against you knew what they were doing
  • how vulnerable you are
  • how whoever discriminated against you has behaved since the incident
  • how you've been affected by the discrimination
  • how serious the discrimination was.

Did whoever discriminated against you know what they were doing

If you were deliberately and directly discriminated against, you're likely to get a higher award than if the tribunal thinks that the discrimination wasn't intended.

Indirect discrimination, where your employer's general actions may discriminate against you, also usually result in a lower award. For example, direct harassment will attract a higher award than if your employer changes the policy on part-time working, which leaves you unable to work because of childcare problems.

How vulnerable you are

If you're pregnant or disabled, a tribunal will usually see you as particularly vulnerable. Injury to feelings awards in pregnancy and disability discrimination cases tend to be higher than other types of discrimination.

How whoever discriminated against you has behaved since the incident

Your employer may have offered an apology and dealt promptly with the discrimination when you complained. If they did, the tribunal might consider their actions reduce the effect of the discrimination.

The effect of the discrimination on you

This is the biggest factor that helps a tribunal decide how much to award you. If you're simply annoyed at what happened, rather than distressed or hurt, your award won't be as high.

You need to give a detailed account about how the discrimination has made you feel. This is extremely important if you're making a discrimination claim. Don't assume that the tribunal will just know how you feel.

The seriousness of the discrimination

Your compensation award for injury to feeling will depend on how serious the discrimination was. The following examples give you an idea how much a tribunal is likely to award, depending on the type of discrimination you've suffered.

Discrimination and dismissal cases

A tribunal is likely to award between £6,000 and £12,000 for injury to feelings if the discrimination also included dismissal.

How much a tribunal will award depends on whether:

  • you were discriminated against before the dismissal
  • your dismissal is also seen as discrimination.

If you were discriminated before you were dismissed, this will increase your award. Examples of where your employer's discrimination against you meant you had to leave your job include:

  • not making any reasonable adjustments in the workplace to adapt to your disability
  • not allowing you to work flexible hours to look after your children
  • harassing you at work before you were dismissed.

Pregnancy discrimination

If you were dismissed because you're pregnant, the injury to feelings award will usually be around £10,000.  

You may not have been dismissed, but have been discriminated against because you're pregnant. This could be, for example, being disciplined for taking time off sick when you were off work for a pregnancy-related reason.

In these cases a tribunal award will usually be between £2,000 and £8,000. The amount you could get will depend on how many times you were discriminated against. '

You're likely to get a lower award if you've been accidentally discriminated against. This could be, for example, where there's been a mix-up over maternity pay rather than a deliberate attempt to avoid paying you.

Indirect sex discrimination cases

Awards for indirect sex discrimination cases are usually between £2,000 and £7,000 for injury to feelings.

For example, you could claim indirect sex discrimination because your employer refused to allow you to work part time but they haven't dismissed you.

The award would depend on your employer's attitude and whether they made any effort to make any adjustments for you. If, for example, the refusal has a serious impact on your family life and your partner has to find another job so you can share child care, this would result in a higher award.

Harassment cases

The amount of compensation a tribunal might give for harassment would depend on:

  • how many incidents there had been
  • how serious they were
  • the effect on your health
  • whether you'd had to time off work
  • whether you'd had to leave work.

The tribunal will also look at whether your employer took the harassment seriously and dealt with it properly by carrying out a full investigation. If they did, this will reduce your award for injury to feelings.

Compensation will be awarded depending on how serious the harassment has been.

Minor harassment

These include cases where there have been one or two incidents of name calling or banter.

A tribunal would be likely to award between £1,000 and £5,000.

Serious harassment

These include cases where there was a single serious incident, such as a threat of violence, or where there was a serious campaign of harassment over several months, such as sustained and deliberate use of offensive language.

A tribunal would be likely to award between £5,000 and £10,000

Very serious harassment

This includes cases where you've been physically assaulted or suffered a deliberate campaign of harassment over several months, such as threats of violence or actual violence.

A tribunal would be likely to award £10,000 or more.

Disability discrimination

If your employer has failed to make reasonable adjustments for you because you have a disability, but you haven't been dismissed, your injury to feelings award is likely to be between £2,000 and £8,000. The amount will depend on:

  • whether your employer made an effort to make any adjustments
  • how obvious it was that the adjustments were needed, especially if you asked for specific adjustments and they weren't made
  • how serious the consequences were for you because the adjustments weren't made. For example, if you had to take time off sick because you weren't given adequate breaks at work because you have diabetes, this would result in a higher award
  • how long you were disadvantaged because of the lack of reasonable adjustments. If this went on for several months you'll get a higher award than if it only went on for a few days or weeks.

Next steps

Other useful information

Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS)

If you've experienced discrimination, you can get help from the EASS discrimination helpline.

Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

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