- The protected characteristic of ‘sex’ refers to being a man or a woman.
- Direct discrimination occurs where a person is treated, or would be treated, less favourably ‘because of’ sex compared with others in like-for-like circumstances.
- Indirect sex discrimination occurs when a provision, criterion or practice (PCP) puts an individual of one sex at a particular disadvantage compared to people of the other sex. An employer may be able to justify the PCP as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
- An occupational requirement, where the nature or context of the work require a person to be of a particular sex, and religious requirements relating to sex, where employment is for the purposes of complying with the doctrine of an organised religion, can be lawful exceptions to direct and indirect discrimination.
- Harassment occurs where unwanted conduct related to sex, or of a sexual nature, violates a person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. It also occurs where an individual is treated less favourably because he or she has either submitted to, or rejected, sex harassment, or harassment of a sexual nature, which has the purpose or effect described above.
- Victimisation occurs where a person is subjected to a detriment for carrying out a ‘protected act’ (for example, bringing a discrimination claim).
- Employers are liable for acts of discrimination, harassment and victimisation carried out by their employees ‘in the course of employment’.
Following consultation on the bands of compensation for injury to feelings in discrimination claims, the Presidents of the Employment Tribunals in England and Wales and Scotland have confirmed an increase to the compensation bands.
The three bands of compensation for injury to feelings were identified in Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Policy (No 2) and were previously adjusted in 2009 by Da’Bell v NSPCC. A 2017 Court of Appeal decision in Pereira de Souza v Vinci Construction UK Ltd confirmed the 10 per cent Simmons v Castle uplift should be applied to the bands. This decision triggered the consultation.
For claims presented on or after 11 September 2017, the bands for compensation for injury to feelings have increased to the following:
- lower band (for less serious cases, such as one off incidents): £800 to £8,400
- middle band (for serious cases not within the upper band): £8,400 to £25,200
- upper band (for most serious cases, such as length campaigns): £25,000 to £42,000
These bands will be reviewed in March 2018 and annually thereafter.