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Discrimination remedies and penalties

Updating author: Tina McKevitt


  • Employment tribunals have the power to make a declaration or recommendation. These are relatively rarely encountered in comparison to the normal remedy of compensation. (See Non-compensatory awards)
  • Compensation will involve the calculation of loss of earnings and fringe benefits both past and future. (See Compensation for financial loss)
  • Awards for injury to feelings are usually made in discrimination cases, but not equal pay cases. (See Injury to feelings)
  • The amount of an injury to feelings award may be increased if the employer has acted in a particularly malicious manner. (See Aggravated damages)
  • It is arguable that exemplary damages, designed to punish the wrongdoer rather than compensate the claimant, may be available in some discrimination cases. (See Exemplary damages)
  • Employment tribunals have power to award compensation for personal injury that is a consequence of the act of discrimination. (See Personal injury claims)
  • Employment tribunals may increase or decrease awards of compensation by up to 25% in the event of an unreasonable failure to comply with the "Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures" in relevant cases. (See Increase or decrease in compensation)
  • In cases of unintentional indirect discrimination, employment tribunals must not make an award of compensation before considering whether or not to make a declaration or recommendation. (See Indirect discrimination)
  • Interest on awards in discrimination cases is dealt with by statute more favourably than in other types of employment actions. (See Interest on awards)
  • Compensation in equal pay cases is different from that in other discrimination cases. (See Equal pay claims)
  • With effect from 6 April 2014, employment tribunals have the power to order an employer that has breached a worker's rights to pay a financial penalty of between £100 and £5,000 where the tribunal is of the opinion that the breach has one or more "aggravating features". (See Financial penalties for employers)
  • With effect from 6 April 2016, enforcement officers have the power to impose financial penalties on employers that fail to pay a financial award ordered by an employment tribunal or a settlement sum agreed following conciliation by Acas. (See Non-payment of employment tribunal awards - financial penalties)
  • In relation to employment tribunal complaints presented on or after 1 October 2014, where a tribunal finds that there has been an equal pay breach, it must (subject to certain exceptions) order the respondent to carry out an equal pay audit. (See Equal pay audits)