Payments in cases of sex bias at work rise sevenfold: Average award is now almost pounds 22,000

VICTIMS of sex discrimination at work are now winning an average of almost pounds 22,000 in compensation - seven times awards being made before European law lifted the ceiling on payments a year ago.

Last year, for the first time, compensation in discrimination cases passed the million-pound barrier. Even if the recent high- profile, high-award cases involving pregnant servicewomen sacked by the Ministry of Defence, are excluded the increase remains sharp. The average award by industrial tribunals of non-MoD cases, which made up about one-third of the 241 cases brought since 1993, has increased by about 45 per cent.

The study by the Equal Opportunities Review concludes that record increases - some women have been awarded more than pounds 400,000 - means employers cannot ignore equal opportunities.

Yesterday, Gary Bowker, its author, said: 'There is now a clear financial incentive for employers to take equal treatment seriously and import the principles of equality law into their decisions.'

The report concludes: 'The removal of the compensation cap and the awarding of interest will have a significant impact on the size of compensation awards for unlawful discrimination.'

Until the beginning of last year industrial tribunals were limited to a maximum payment of pounds 11,000 to anyone who could prove that he or she had been illegally discriminated against. But following a test case in the European courts, the ceiling was lifted. Until then the average tribunal award was a little over pounds 3,000.

There had long been calls for a change in law and practice, which many thought left women in particular barely compensated for loss of jobs or career opportunities.

The flood of servicewomen's claims, which have distorted the figures, arise from an earlier European Court ruling in 1990 that the policy operated by the MoD of dismissing servicewomen in their 16th week of pregnancy had been illegal since 1978.

However, the large number of high awards to service personnel, which have already cost the MoD more than pounds 17m and threaten to cost tens of millions more, are likely to be moderated in the light of an Employment Appeal Tribunal ruling, which stated that some of the higher awards had been 'manifestly excessive' and out of proportion to the wrong done to the women, and set out new guidelines for tribunals.

The first example of this came last week when a former army lieutenant, claiming pounds 78,000 for dismissal after she became pregnant, was awarded only pounds 6,537. According to the study, until now MoD case awards have averaged about pounds 35,478.

The review, which also looked at incidents of racial discrimination, found that compensation for injury to feelings, particularly in racial harassment cases, had increased with average awards up by 42 per cent to nearly pounds 2,000.

Taking the Cap Off Discrimination Awards; Equal Opportunities Review, 18-20 Highbury Place, London N5 1QP; pounds 145 by subscription.

Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Morrissey pictured in 2013
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Robyn Lawley
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine