11th August 2016

Sexual Harassment: £14,000 awarded for injury to feelings

Following the TUC survey of 1500 women, which found that more than half of women say they have been sexually harassed at work, we take a look at a recent case where a woman was awarded an injury to feelings award because of sexual harassment by her employer.

In the case of AA Solicitors Limited v. Majid, Miss Majid was employed by the solicitors while studying to become a lawyer.  She was subjected to sexual harassment by the firm’s sole practitioner. He invited her out to the cinema, made comments about how she looked, said about installing a bed in the office and touched her in a way that made her feel uncomfortable.  She rejected these advances, which then led to her losing her job.

Miss Majid succeeded with her employment tribunal claim and they awarded her £14,000 for injury to feelings and a further £4,000 for aggravated damages, which are awarded where the behaviour has aggravated the claimant’s injury. They also gave her an award for loss of earnings.

When assessing an injury to feelings award, the Tribunal has regard to the case of Vento v. Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police [2002] where the Court of Appeal set guidelines for the amounts of compensation given for injury to feelings.  It set out three bands which were then updated by the case of Da’Bell v NSPCC in 2009, which are:

  • Lower band of £600 – £6,000
  • Middle band of £6,000 – £18,000
  • Higher band of £18,000 – £30,000

On awarding Miss Majid £14,000 the tribunal decided it fell within the middle band and said this would be £6,600 – £19,800 due to inflation and a 10% uplift following the case of Simmons v. Castle, (where the Court of Appeal felt the level of general damages in certain types of claim should be increased by 10% after 1 April 2013).   The EAT confirmed that Tribunals can take account of inflation without waiting for further guidance from the EAT and also confirmed it was correct that the 10% uplift normally applied to general damages from the Simmons case could be applied to injury to feelings in the tribunal.

Given that Miss Majid was awarded £18,000 plus loss of earnings, it may help persuade employers to tackle sexual harassment in the work place not only from a moral point of view but also because such litigation can prove so expensive. Perhaps surveys such as the TUC survey will help raise awareness for employers and employees alike to help reduce such harassment in the work place.

We regularly assist businesses and individuals with queries surrounding sex discrimination and discrimination on the grounds of maternity and pregnancy. Therefore, if you require specialist advice on any type of discrimination, please do contact us to see how we can help.  You can contact Linda Wilson on 01730 268211 or at .