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Reports surfaced early this week that two discrimination cases against the NHS in the Employment Tribunal had resulted in pushing up compensation being paid in discrimination cases by nearly £5.5 million in 2011, to a total of approximately of £8.5 million.

The Equal Opportunities Review (subscription needed) published in its August issue a survey of cases at the Bury St Edmunds employment tribunal and details of cases sent to it by individual lawyers. It found that two discrimination cases in the Employment Tribunal in 2011 received awards totalling just under £5.5 million. The cases that received these high awards were Michalak v The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust (just under £4.5 million) and Browne v Central Manchester University NHS Foundation (just over £933 thousand).

In Browne v Central Manchester University NHS Foundation the Claimant was subjected to racial discrimination and unfairly dismissed, a sequence of events which he claimed left him close to a “mental breakdown”. He sued in the Employment Tribunal for race discrimination claims and unfair dismissal and won.  In Michalak v The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust Dr Michalak was subjected to a “clandestine plot” by senior staff to unseat her. She therefore sued the NHS for, among other things, unlawful sex and race discrimination claims and was, as above, awarded approximately £4.5 million.

Although these awards are extremely high, they do present a distorted picture of the general nature of the awards in discrimination cases in the Employment Tribunal. Including these two cases pushes up the average award for discrimination claims in the Employment Tribunal in 2011 to £38,484. However, removing these two cases from the equation brings the average down to £15,130. The median award for discrimination claims in the Employment Tribunal was even lower than this figure – £7,518. This is approximately £500 down from the 2010 figures.

Redmans’ specialist no win no fee discrimination solicitors handle discrimination claims for employers and employees.

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