Availability of injury to feelings compensation in detrimental treatment claims
Employment tribunals are able to order employers to pay compensation for injury to feelings in all detrimental treatment claims.
In South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue v Mansell, an employment tribunal found that firefighters had been treated detrimentally as a result of exercising their rights under the Working Time Regulations 1998. The tribunal indicated that an award for compensation for injury to feelings was potentially available and rejected the employer’s argument that injury to feelings awards were only available in whistleblowing detriment claims.
The employer appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal.
The Employment Tribunal dismissed the appeal. When it comes to injury to feelings awards, there was no basis for distinguishing between the various grounds on which detrimental treatment of an employee is unlawful under Part V of the Employment Rights Act 1996. Case law already confirms that an injury to feelings award is available in whistleblowing detriment claims and there was no reason why it should not be available in other detrimental treatment claims, including working time cases. Whether an injury to feelings award should be made in a particular case, and if so in what amount, is a question of fact for the tribunal in each case.
Workers will be able to ask employment tribunals to award compensation for injury to feelings in all cases where they succeed in a detrimental treatment claim under Part V of the Employment Rights Act 1996. As well as whistleblowing and working time cases, this includes health and safety cases, cases of leave for family reasons, flexible working, time off for study and training, Sunday Working, jury service, employee representatives and trustees of occupational pension schemes.
Where employment tribunals decide to award injury to feelings, they will assess the level of the award in the same way as for discrimination cases using the Vento bands. These currently range from £800 (for less serious cases) to £42,000 (for the most serious cases) and are reviewed annually.
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