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Number of tribunal awards up by a quarter

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Last year saw a sharp increase – 57% – in the number of awards made by tribunals in cases involving dismissal on grounds of pregnancy, according to new research.

The findings, published in the journal Equal Opportunities Review, also revealed that in 2002 employment tribunals awarded compensation totalling £6.41 million in cases of unlawful discrimination – a 65% increase from the previous year, with the number of awards rising by 27% to 418 in 2002.

More than half of the £6.41 million was awarded for sex discrimination, just under a third for race discrimination and less than one eighth for disability discrimination in the workplace. The figures include two record awards – £1.37m for sex discrimination and £761,867 for race discrimination.

Almost £2 million was awarded for injury to feelings in 2002 – a 34% increase on 2001. The average shows little movement but the median award increased by 17% to £3500.

The highest awards and number of awards for each jurisdiction in 2002 were:

Disability Discrimination (70 cases)
Compensation – £87,488 Huskisson v Abbey National plc
Injury to Feelings (including aggravated damages) – £15,000 Bruce v Leeds City Council

Race Discrimination (89 cases)
Compensation – £761,867 Chaudhary v British Medical Association
Injury to Feelings (including aggravated damages) – £45,000 Eccles v The General Conference of the Seventh Day Adventist Church

There were three awards of over £100,000 for race discrimination and a further five over £50,000, as well as a record award of almost £800,000. This brings up the average award for race discrimination, which increased by 135% over the 2001 figure of £9743.

Sex Discrimination (259 cases)
Compensation – £1,374,346 Bower v Schroder Securities Ltd
Injury to feelings – £20,000 Scott v Commission of Inland Revenue

Until 2002, the number of sex discrimination cases had been decreasing but this period has also seen a significant increase.

Related item
Expectant mothers still experience pregnancy discrimination at work

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