Hurting someone’s feelings at work can be expensive, if the hurt results from negative words or actions in relation to a legally protected characteristic like race or gender, disability or religious belief, sexual orientation or pregnancy. Sexual harassment, including sexual banter, is covered too. If a Claim is brought for discrimination and won, there is an extra head of damages called ‘injury to feelings’. The amount is at the discretion of the Judge, but there are guidelines. In applying the guidelines the amount awarded reflects things like the depth and length of the hurt, what action was taken after a complaint, and the degree of sympathy or disapproval of the Judge.
The guidelines on possible damages for ‘injury to feelings’ rise with the RPI measure of inflation and for claims made on or after 6 April 2021 they will be as follows: a lower band of £900 to £9,100 for less serious cases; a middle band of £9,100 to £27,400 for cases that do not merit an award in the upper band; and an upper band of £27,400 to £45,600 for the most serious cases, with the most exceptional cases capable of exceeding £45,600.
Injury to feelings damages will usually be in addition to damages for loss of earnings, and the overall level of damages for discrimination does not have a maximum cap on what can be awarded. It is often a nasty surprise to people to realise that not only can an employer be sued, but the involved managers and other employees can be personally liable and sued too. Best be careful then to take advice on how to avoid discrimination at work, and how to deal with it wisely should a complaint be made.
At Ellisons our specialist Employment Law Solicitors are able to offer you prompt and practical advice to help you resolve the issues as quickly as possible and on the right terms. Contact the Ellisons’ specialist Employment Law Solicitors today on 01473 556900 or email us at [email protected].