Fri 23 Dec 2022

Latest annual employment tribunal compensation award statistics published - 2021/2022

Average awards have increased in most jurisdictions.

I have always looked at the annual Employment Tribunal statistics with great interest as they provide very useful information on the number of claims being raised and the level of awards being made by Employment Tribunals. Following a lack of annual statistics last year, due to the transition by the Employment Tribunal to a new database, the statistics are back. Unfortunately, due to the transition to the new database, this year's annual statistics do not include information on the total number of claims made between April 2021 and March 2022 ("the reporting period").  The reporting period has also been impacted, to some extent, by the pandemic which also makes comparisons with previous years less reliable.  However, the detail of the statistics still make for interesting reading. 

The highest amount of compensation awarded in the reporting period was £228,117 and was awarded in a race discrimination claim. This was closely followed by a compensation award of £225,893 in a disability discrimination claim. These awards remain considerably lower than some of the awards that were reported pre-pandemic. For example, the highest award made in 2018/19 was £947,585 (awarded in an unfair dismissal case).

The highest award in an unfair dismissal claim this year was £165,000. Whilst compensatory awards for unfair dismissal claims are usually capped (currently at £93,878), the cap does not apply where a dismissal is due to whistleblowing or for raising certain health and safety issues. The highest award reported by the statistics changes from year to year - dependent on the circumstances of the particular case - the median awards in unfair dismissal cases, over the last 8 years, have remained more static all being between £6,243 and £8,015.  This year is no exception with the median award being £7,650.  The average award during the reporting period for unfair dismissal was £13,541.

When we last wrote about these statistics two years ago, with regard to sex discrimination, we commented on how the level of awards made had significantly increased.  That trend has continued with the maximum award made being £184,961, the median award being £17,959 and the average award being £24,630.

For religion and belief discrimination claims the maximum award was only £35,000 but the average award made was £19,709.  Sexual orientation claims had the highest median and average awards at £28,384 and £32,680 respectively. 

It should be remembered that the statistics relate only to cases decided by the Employment Tribunal after a full hearing. The vast majority of cases will not make it as far as a full hearing on the merits and may cases will either have been settled or withdrawn at an earlier stage. Of those that are settled, many of the settlements will be well in excess of the highest figures referred and it is very likely that there will have been settlements well in excess of £1 million.

The number of costs awards made by Employment Tribunals in 2021/22 was 184. That breaks down to respondents (employers) having 134 costs awards awarded in their favour while the number of costs awards awarded in favour of claimants was 50.  It remains the case in the Employment Tribunal that it is relatively rare for costs awards to be made and the norm is that each party has to bear their own expenses. The maximum costs award was though the highest that we have seen in recent times at £600,673.  However, the median costs award was £2,500 and the average £8,818.

Maximum, Median and Average Awards for Unfair Dismissal and Discrimination 2021/22


Maximum Award

Median Award

Average Award

Unfair Dismissal




Race Discrimination




Sex Discrimination




Disability Discrimination




Religion/Belief Discrimination




Age Discrimination




Sexual Orientation Discrimination





The full report is available here (see Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal Tables 2021 to 2022).

Next year's figures will hopefully be the first to return to "normal", hopefully unaffected by either the pandemic or the technical difficulties in producing the statistics over the last couple of years.  They should provide a clearer picture of any trends that are being established, particularly in terms of the number of claims raised, and we will report on all of this in due course.

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