An excellent short summary of UK compensation awards in discrimination cases this past year was written by Sue Johnstone, Editor of Equal Opportunities Review, and published in the blog “Michael Rubenstein Presents. …”   We publish it here in its entirety.


Equal Opportunities Review’s (EOR) annual survey of compensation awards in discrimination cases covers a record number of 422 awards. Notably this year, there are no exceptionally large awards – the highest award being for £235,825 in a disability discrimination case. In fact, there were only two awards that exceeded £100,000. The highest award, of £235,825, was in a disability discrimination case.

In the first part of our compensation awards survey we provide an overview of awards generally, and then look in more detail at sex and race discrimination compensation cases. Other protected characteristics – disability, age, sexual orientation, religion or belief and combined jurisdiction – will be discussed in part 2 in our next issue of EOR.

As well as giving overall average and median amounts, we analyse the awards by each of six protected characteristics and by combined jurisdiction. The figures for 2012 show a decrease overall in the average total award whilst the average injury to feelings award has increased. We see that injury to feelings compensation has increased as a proportion of the total award – up to almost half (47%) – confirming that the trend has been for lower amounts to be awarded for financial loss. The median for both total and injury to feelings have remained at more or less the same level for some years – the total award median has been around £7,500 for the past nine years – apart from spikes in two years – and the injury to feelings median has remained at £5,000 for the last three years.

Another notable development has been the increase in the number of cases where the employment tribunal has made a wider, action recommendation, under its extended power under the Equality Act – which the Government is still proposing to remove. In 2012, the number of cases involving recommendations more than doubled – with 30 such orders.

Sex discrimination awards have decreased, with both the average and median going down since last year. If the case involves pregnancy or maternity, the average and median go down even further.

Race discrimination cases show a decrease in the average award, whereas the median has increased, albeit only to £4,500, the second lowest of all jurisdictions.”