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Discrimination: Burden of proof, time limits and remedies


Discrimination claims must normally be presented to the employment tribunal within three months of the alleged act of discrimination. An employment tribunal has the discretion to extend this time limit where it considers it just and equitable to do so.

Tribunals frequently adopt a two-stage approach to the burden of proof when determining discrimination claims

There is no limit to the amount of compensation that a tribunal can award an employee who succeeds in their discrimination claim. In addition to ordering compensation, tribunals are able to make a declaration and/or a recommendation.

The compensation awarded to an employee usually includes recovery of any financial loss flowing from the act of discrimination, and damages for injury to feelings. Damages for injury to feelings are assessed by reference to the Vento guidelines.

Tribunals may also award aggravated damages where it has found the employer's conduct has been exceptionally high handed, malicious or oppressive.

Tribunals also have the power to award damages for personal injury. Most claims for personal injury in discrimination cases are for psychiatric injury.

If the tribunal finds more than one respondent (eg the employer, another organisation or an individual employee) liable for the same act of discrimination, it must award compensation on a joint and several basis.