Compensation rockets

VICTIMS of racial discrimination at work are this year receiving double the amount of compensation that has been awarded in previous years.

According to a survey commissioned by the employment journal Equal Opportunities Review Industrial, tribunals in the UK ordered companies to pay an average award of £9,600 to victims of racial discrimination – twice as much as in 1996 – and an average of £5,500 in sex discrimination cases – an increase of 60 per cent.

A record-breaking six-figure compensation award was made in one race discrimination case.

Support groups such as the Law Society Equal Opportunities Committee and the Association of Women Solicitors have attributed the increase to better awareness of what constitutes racial and sexual discrimination.

Legal Action Group policy officer Vicki Chapman said: “These figures show that tribunals are taking this issue seriously, which should send out a warning to employers.”

Tribunals awarded £837,289-worth of sex discrimination and £549,531-worth of race discrimination awards. Compensation was awarded in 141 sex, and 53 race discrimination cases, and four sex-and-race discrimination cases.

Awards for injury to feelings were highest in sexual harassment cases, at an average of £3,363, and lowest in recruitment cases, at an average of £1,113, although this figure fell even lower, to £933, when men were the applicants.