Employees who bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal for discrimination can claim compensation for psychiatric or physical injuries they have suffered as a result of the unlawful discrimination.
Usually claims for personal injury in these circumstances relate to psychological injury as opposed to physical injury, and it is often the case that medical evidence is required to identify whether the injury suffered by the claimant was caused by the act or acts of discrimination the claimant has been subjected to. It can be difficult in these circumstances to apportion blame for psychological illness such as depression solely with the employer, as the employee may have a number of contributing factors from their home life as well. A medical report prepared by a psychologist and psychiatrist can be useful.
Compensation which may be awarded by an Employment Tribunal for personal injury is calculated under two headings:
- “General damages” – Relates to what is known as pain, suffering and loss of amenity (for example loss of ability to take part in hobbies). This is calculated with reference to the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases (“JSB Guidelines”) which are used to act as a guide for the level of award for General Damages. They provide a range of compensation for each category of injury.
- “Special damages” – Relates to loss of financial compensation for the injury the claimant has suffered from. This includes compensation for loss of earnings and other financial losses.
As part of a discrimination claim, claimants can also be awarded “Injury for Feelings”. This should be identified separately from any personal injury award. In circumstances where a claimant has been awarded compensation for personal injury in the Employment Tribunal they will not then be able bring a stand alone personal injury claim in the County Court or High Court for the same loss.