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Equal Opportunities Review: Race Bias Awards Up 65%


Compensation awarded by employment tribunals to victims of race discrimination increased by two-thirds (65%) in 1999, according to the annual survey of compensation awards published in Equal Opportunities Review*. The average award for sex discrimination was also up – by 5%. However, the average award for disability discrimination fell by 13%.

The overall compensation employers were ordered to pay out by employment tribunals in 1999 to victims of unlawful discrimination increased by almost a third (30%). In total, tribunals awarded £2.55 million to victims of disability, race and sex discrimination in over 300 cases. Add in interest and the total awarded by tribunals was £2.68 million.

The average compensation award for victims of race discrimination was £9,948, slightly less than the average award of £9,981 in disability cases. Victims of sex discrimination were awarded significantly less on average – £7,208. So, for every £1 awarded in compensation for sex discrimination, around £1.38 was awarded for disability or race discrimination.

Awards for injury to feelings were highest in cases of race discrimination (£5,297) – 40% more than the average in sex discrimination cases (£3,787) and 46% more than in cases of disability discrimination (£3,635).

The Equal Opportunities Review survey – which provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date picture available of compensation trends – covered awards made by employment tribunals in Britain between 1 January 1999 and 31 December 1999. Tribunals awarded compensation in 313 discrimination cases – 201 cases of sex discrimination; 71 of race discrimination; 36 of disability discrimination; four cases of race and sex discrimination combined; and one of disability and sex discrimination combined.

The survey’s other key findings, by jurisdiction, include:

Sex discrimination cases

Race discrimination cases

  • Compensation awards ranged from £665 to a record £130,736.
  • Over a quarter of compensation awards were for £10,000 or more.
  • Awards for injury to feelings, which accounted for 53% of the total compensation awarded in race cases, ranged from £500 to £30,000.

Disability discrimination cases

  • Compensation awards ranged from £500 to £77,696.
  • Over a quarter of compensation awards were for £10,000 or more.
  • Awards for injury to feelings, which accounted for just over a third of the total compensation awarded in disability cases, ranged from £200 to £15,000 – a record high†.

* "Compensation awards ‘99 " – Equal Opportunities Review No. 93, September/October 2000. Available on annual subscription (£215) from Industrial Relations Services, 18-20 Highbury Place, London N5 1QP (020 7354 5858).

† This figure was exceeded at the beginning of 2000, when an employment tribunal made an award of £25,000.


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