KNOWLEDGE

Employment tribunal award statistics published - 2022/2023

Morton Fraser Partner Innes Clark
Author
Innes Clark
Partner
PUBLISHED:
12 October 2023
Audience:
Business
category:
Blog

The annual employment tribunal award statistics have been published for 2022/2023.

Following two years of "disruption" to the annual employment tribunal award statistics due to a transition to a new database, the April 2022 to March 2023 ("the 22/23 reporting period") statistics make for some interesting reading.  Due to the disruption, comparison against the last two years needs to be treated with a degree of caution and, of course, the pandemic has also impacted. 

The headline statistic, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, is that the total number of claims made in this most recent reporting period are back down to the levels we saw when employment tribunal fees were in place.  The total number of claims made in the 22/23 reporting period is 85,352 - a figure more aligned to the 15/16 and 16/17 reporting periods (83,015 and 88,461 respectively).  When fees were abolished in June 2017, figures quickly rallied to well over 100,000 claims per year for each of the next 4 years.

The quantification of employment tribunal awards depends entirely on the individual circumstances of each claim, but it is always interesting to look for general trends.  This year the trend is that, with the exception of awards for disability discrimination, median awards in the various different heads of claims that are reported on are down compared to last year.  As always, the detail of the awards makes for interesting reading. 

The highest award made in the 22/23 reporting period was £1,767,869 and was made in a disability discrimination case.  The case was a particularly sad one, with the claimant unfortunately passing away between the liability hearing and the remedy hearing.  While the majority of the award (as is usually the case) related to financial loss, it also included an award of £38,678 for injury to feelings.  A significant award of £995,128 was made in a sex discrimination claim, and £452,474 was made in a race discrimination case.  The highest awards in age, sexual orientation and religion and belief claims all fall between £82,000 and £93,000.

The highest award in an unfair dismissal claim in the 22/23 reporting period is £184,200. While unfair dismissal claims are usually subject to a statutory cap this case will have been one of the exceptions where the cap does not apply (i.e. whistleblowing or health and safety related dismissals).  The median award for unfair dismissal claims is though only £6,201.  The average unfair dismissal award during the 22/23 reporting period was £11,914.

It is disability discrimination claims that have bucked the downward trend in terms of median and average awards, being the only jurisdiction where both have increased.  The average award, which is, of course, impacted by the very high award of over £1.7 million referred to above, was £45,435, and the median was £15,634.

It should, of course, always be remembered that the vast majority of employment disputes are settled without a tribunal claim being raised, so that they do not form part of the data set which has led to these statistics.  Of those disputes that settled, many will have settled for well in excess of the average and median figures, and it is likely that there will have been settlements in excess of £1m.

Costs awards are still relatively rare in employment tribunals. In the 22/23 reporting period, 195 cost awards were made with 150 made in favour of respondents and 45 in favour of claimants.  The maximum costs award made was £174,141, but the median costs award is significantly lower at £3,700.

Maximum, Median and Average Awards for Unfair Dismissal and Discrimination 2022/23

  Maximum Award Median Award Average Award
Unfair dismissal £184,200 £6,201 £11,914
Race Discrimination £452,474 £11,400 £23,070
Sex Discrimination £995,128 £11,177 £37,607
Disability Discrimination £1,767,869 £15,634 £45,435
Religion & Belief Discrimination £92,039 £9,239 £19,332
Age Discrimination £84,723 £5,675 £14,210
Sexual Orientation Discrimination £82,168 £26,247 £31,623

The full report is available here (see Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal Tables 2022 to 2023).

Next year's figures will give us a better idea of whether the lower number of claims made to the employment tribunal is a continuing trend or a post pandemic blip.  We will of course report on this at this time next year. 

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