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13th September, 2013

Equal Opportunities Review publish statistics on compensation awards in discrimination cases


Annual statistics published by the Equal Opportunities Review (“EOR”) show that the total compensation awarded in discrimination cases in 2012 was £5,268,597.

The statistics relate to 422 cases decided by the Employment Tribunal in England and Wales and do not take into account the numerous claims which are concluded by way of Settlement Agreements for an undisclosed sum and therefore do not reach a full hearing.

The highest award made was £235,825 in the disability discrimination case of Wilebore v Cable & Wireless Worldwide Services Ltd, where it was held that reasonable adjustments were not made for an employee returning to work following cancer treatment.

Only one other case, the age discrimination case of Dixon v Croglin Estate Co Limited [2012] EqLR 187, had an award in excess of £100,000.

However both cases serve as a timely reminder that although such large amounts are not necessarily commonplace, discrimination awards are uncapped and can be extremely costly to an organisation.

Relevant evidence that is taken into account includes:

• whether there is an Equal Opportunities Policy in place, and the extent of the relevant employees knowledge of the Policy; and
• the extent to which managers and employees are given training in respect of the content of the Policy.

In many cases employers are able to point to a policy document but frequently struggle to demonstrate that adequate training was provided with regard to that policy.

In 2012, 47% of the total amount awarded (£2,469,566) was attributable to awards made for injury to feelings. This figure highlights the importance of ensuring all employees and managers are aware of current discrimination law and are offered appropriate training; to try to reduce the instances of potential acts of discrimination occurring and subsequent claims being made.

Employment Tribunals currently have the power to make recommendations for the benefit of the wider workforce (as well as Claimants). Thirty recommendations were made in 2012, the most common being for training to be implemented on equality and diversity. Therefore it is clear that providing appropriate training within the workplace to avoid unlawful discrimination and with a view to training managers how to deal with complaints that arise is beneficial.

For further information and guidance on claims of discrimination and implementing policies to your work place please contact Claire Brook on 01244 405575 or send an email to [email protected]

 



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