Top three discrimination claims at Employment Tribunals

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Statistics from the Employment Tribunal Services have revealed the top three discrimination claims in terms of the average compensation payouts awarded in 2010/11.

The discrimination claim with the highest average payout was age discrimination with a staggering £30,289. This average has risen from £10,931 in 2009/10, quite a significant leap. In addition, the number of age discrimination claims accepted by Tribunals rose by nearly a third to 6,800.

This may have to do with the number of high profile age discrimination claims in the media prompting those with complaints to contact an employment law solicitor. For example, the case of BBC presenter Miriam O’Reilly, who successfully claimed age discrimination against the broadcaster when they fired her from Countryfile.

The rising figure may also reflect the additional protections given to employees in relation to age discrimination in the Equality Act 2010. Although age was protected under employment law prior to 2010, the new Act expanded that protection to include harassment from a third party who is not employed by the employer, and discrimination by association – when a person is discriminated against because they are associated with a person who is protected by the Act.

The second highest average payout was received by claimants with disability discrimination claims. The average payout for 2010/11 was £14,137, quite a difference from the average payout for an age discrimination claim. In fact, the average payout for disability claims fell by a third from the previous year.

46% of disability discrimination claims were settled by the Acas conciliation service, which could explain the decrease in the average Tribunal payout if the higher payouts for disability discrimination were made during this process instead.

Employment solicitors may recommend Acas conciliation before making a claim to a Tribunal, as it can help to resolve a matter more quickly.

The third highest average payout was for sexual discrimination claims. Despite having the highest number of claims accepted by Employment Tribunals (18,300), the average payout was £13,911.

The highest payout in 2010/11 for a sexual harassment claim was for a whopping £289,167; however, 97% of the payouts were under £50,000, which lowered the average.

Interestingly, almost half (49%) of all sexual harassment claims were withdrawn. Claimants may have withdrawn their claims on the advice of their no-win, no-fee employment solicitors, or because they had settled the claim without the need to go to Tribunal.


  1. I doubt any of the cases in that report are under the Equality Act 2010. Most of the provisions only came into force in October 2010 and it's unlikely that a big discrimination case will get to tribunal in much under 12 months.

    Wait for neat year's stats to see if the Equality Act has any impact, though there will still be some old DDA/RRA/SDA/etc. claims even in the 2011/12 figures.

    Most employment claims settle. I expect few are withdrawn without any sort of payment changing hands, but the stats on that are probably unreliable.

  2. Agreed, I think it'll be interesting to see if and how the Equality Act affects things financially. Given the scale of the EA changes I'd be quite interested if the Tribunal Service did a break down on that basis as well.

  3. Stephen - yep... should be interesting to wait and see.

    Beth - I agree.. I think it's def. too early for the increase to be due to the Equality Act.

    Btw, this wasn't my content, so I can't speak for the author (but what the heck)....

    Reading it through, (yep, I only skim read it before posting ... I was off on holiday enjoying fresh mountain air and liquid lunches) I think it was a (fanciful) suggestion that the EA *might* be having an impact rather than an assertion that it definitely was, but I agree with you, Beth, - the timescales seem all wrong.

    I think this may be a one-off foray into hosting guest posts... I don't think Law Actually is about paraphrasing serious content (best leave that to others who like playing journalists)... I'd much rather quote a story and take the piss!

    That or play about in photoshop mocking up something asinine and immature! ;-)


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