05 December 2011 #Employment
In cases involving whistleblowing and discrimination claims, a tribunal may make awards for injury to feelings and aggravated damages to the successful claimant. Aggravated damages are damages which are awarded in the most serious of cases where the behaviour of a respondent has aggravated the claimant`s injury. Case law suggests that aggravated damages can be awarded where the respondent has acted in a "high-handed, malicious, insulting or oppressive manner".
In the case of Metropolitan Police v Shaw the Employment Appeal Tribunal (the “EAT”) examined when aggravated damages should be awarded. The EAT held that a tribunal should not make an award for aggravated damages to reflect the seriousness of the conduct. Instead a tribunal should look at whether the injury to feelings has been aggravated by some additional element. The ultimate question for the tribunal should be whether the overall award is proportionate to the totality of the claimant’s suffering. The EAT reasoned that aggravated damages should be awarded to compensate a claimant and not to punish a respondent.