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Employment tribunals - discrimination - calculating compensation for aggravated damages

This advice applies to Wales

If you make a claim for discrimination and your employer has behaved particularly badly towards you, you can claim additional compensation for the fact that their extremely poor behaviour has increased the distress caused to you. This is known as a claim for aggravated damages.

This page explains when you can claim aggravated damages.

What are aggravated damages?

In discrimination claims, you can claim compensation for injury to your feelings as well as for financial losses.

If your employer has behaved in a particularly high-handed, malicious or insulting way, when they discriminated against you or in the way they have behaved since they discriminated against you, the tribunal can increase your compensation for injury to feelings to take account of these aggravated damages.

When you might get aggravated damages

It's rare for aggravated damages to be awarded. For a tribunal to award compensation for aggravated damages, you'll have to show that:

  • your employer was exceptionally contemptuous or had a malicious motive when they discriminated against you, and
  • you suffered an increased injury to feelings as a result of their conduct.

You may be awarded aggravated damages if your employer has behaved in an exceptionally upsetting way towards you. This could be, for example, by treating you in a manner which is unnecessarily offensive, spiteful, vindictive, or in a way which is intended to hurt you.

Aggravated damages may also be awarded when your employer made the situation much worse by showing that they didn't take your claim of discrimination seriously. They could do this, for example, by promoting the person who was harassing you rather than properly investigating your claim. Or by speaking in a particularly high-handed and dismissive manner at the tribunal hearing.

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)

  • You can find useful information about discrimination on the EHRC website.
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