Injury to feelings award of £16,000

An Employment Tribunal has awarded an employee £20,000 (of which £16,000 was for injury to feelings) for disability and race discrimination, harassment and unfair dismissal.

The employee told the tribunal that a poster, which his employer claimed was created to discourage disruptive workforce behaviour, was deliberately brought to his attention. The poster read: “Don’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch.” The employee, who was black, alleged that a team leader asked him if he’d seen the poster and that the same team leader asked a non-white colleague: “Have you heard about the black apple campaign?”

The employer’s defence was that the employee was dismissed as a result of lack of capability after having a long absence with no prospects of returning to work.
The hearing lasted for 16 days and heard of “institutional racism” and cited many examples of name-calling and discriminatory comments. The employee suffered from anxiety, depression and a bowel disorder. He was described by the tribunal judge as being a very vulnerable person with a long-term mental illness.

The case demonstrates the significant awards of discrimination cases – in this case a much higher award for injury to feelings than for the fact that the employee was unfairly dismissed.

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