19th January 2010

INFORMATION
UPDATE

 Issue No.  2010/04

 Sentient
              

 

  EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNALS – AWARDS LEVELS

If ever employers needed a reminder of why they need to stay on the right side of legislation, the Tribunal Statistics for 2008/2009 give a few pointers.
 
1.       Unfair Dismissal (UFD)
 
Out of 151,028 claims registered at the Employment Tribunal 52,711 (35%) included a claim for UFD.
 
As with all statistics, you can make them say just about anything.  That said; of the cases that reached a conclusion just over 20% made it all the way to a hearing with about half of these being successful.  The average award paid by employers was just short of £8,000.
  
2.       Discrimination Claims
 
Of those cases concluded, around 40% settled before hearing (most likely due to commercial reality (nuisance value) or due to the lack of a strong defence).  Interestingly,  13% are dismissed by the courts with a similar percentage going on to a hearing.  Of those going to a hearing, 23% were successful.
 
But what awards were given in Discrimination claims won by the Claimant?
 
COMPENSATION
As you will know, for discrimination claims there is no limit to the amount of compensation that an Employment Tribunal can award. 
 
The statistics for 2008/2009 show: -

 Type of Discrimination

 Highest Award

 Average Award

 Age

£90,031 

 £8,869

 Religious Belief

 £24,876

 £10,616

 Sex

 £113,106

 £11,025

 Sexual Orientation

 £63,222

 £23,668

 Disability

 £388,612

 £27,235

 Race

 £1,353,432

 £32,115

These are quite alarming especially as in some categories the average award has roughly doubled since the last results.  What will the future hold?  We predict higher figures still based on a recent case law decision that increases the ‘hurt feelings’ elements to such claims.
 
And finally:
 
A case which might find itself in next years statistics for the Maximum Award for Race Discrimination:  Chagger -v- Abbey National plc.   In this case the Employment Tribunal awarded the successful Claimant £2,794,962.27.  A very exceptional case but noteworthy simply due to the amount awarded.
 
Our conclusions are that whilst it might seem that the chances of an employer losing at a hearing are relatively low, the penalties when this does occur can be substantial and the highest awards are potentially business critical.
 
As ever we cannot stress strongly enough the need to keep on top of employment matters and to take advice on a regular basis.

 


 

 

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