The latest tribunal statistics reveal that the number of single claims received increased by 90% between October-December 2017, compared to the same quarter in 2016.

Since fees were removed in July 2017, employment tribunal claims have increased and keep increasing with 16% more single claims received in October-December 2017 than in July-September 2017.

Maximum tribunal awards limits increase

Each April, the limits which apply to tribunals when deciding compensation awards are increased. From 6th April 2018:

• The limit on a week’s pay increased from £489 to £508;
• The maximum statutory redundancy payment and unfair dismissal basic award increased to £15,240;
• The compensatory award for unfair dismissal increased to £83,682 or a year’s pay.

These increases bring the total maximum award for an unfair dismissal to £98,922 – a significant amount of money at any time, especially as unfair dismissal claims increased by 65% in October-December 2017.

Discrimination compensation becomes more costly

Compensation for discrimination is unlimited and is designed to put the individual in the position they would have been in had they not been discriminated against. The tribunals discretion in making these awards means they are often expensive and difficult to estimate in advance.

Additional compensation can also be awarded for ‘injury to feelings’ e.g. to compensate for the hurt, insult or humiliation felt by the individual. There are three bands of compensation that the tribunal can decide the case falls in. These bands have been increased for discrimination claims made on or after 6th April 2018 as follows:

• Lower band (for less serious cases, such as one-off acts): £900 to £8,600
• Middle band (for serious cases not within the upper band): £8,600 to £25,700
• Upper band (for most serious cases, such as campaigns of discrimination): £25,700 to £42,900.

This means discrimination compensation awards will include, as a minimum, an extra £900 on top for injury to feelings. This amount can increase up to over £42,000 depending on the seriousness of the discrimination and the effect this had on the individual.

Rising claim numbers, including a 56.55% increase in race discrimination and a 45% increase in disability discrimination, mean it is more important than ever that employers are acting in lawfully and in accordance with best practice.