Can I Sue My Employer For An Accidental Data Breach At Work?
By Lewis Cobain. Last Updated 10th November 2023. In this guide, we talk about what steps to take if an employer breached data protection and it caused you harm. We discuss what steps you can take, your legal rights and how our solicitors can help you claim for an accidental data breach at work.
If you have any questions about what to do if your employer breached data protection and the breach included your personal data, get in touch with our advisors. To contact us:
Select A Section
- Can I Claim For An Accidental Data Breach At Work?
- What Is Personal Data?
- Examples Of Employer Data Breaches
- How Can I Prove A Claim For An Accidental Data Breach At Work?
- Employer Breached Data Protection Compensation Payouts
- Breach Of Data Protection In The Workplace – Get In Touch For No Win No Fee Legal Help
Your personal data is protected under the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR). These two pieces of legislation set out the responsibilities of a data controller, who decides how and why your data is used, and a data processor, who processes the data on the controller’s behalf. Your employer may play both roles.
If either the data controller or processor failed to adhere to these pieces of legislation, it could potentially lead to an accidental data breach at work. A personal data breach occurs when the availability, confidentiality, or integrity of your personal data is compromised in a security incident.
Article 82 of the UK GDPR sets out the eligibility criteria that need to be met in order to begin a personal data breach claim:
- The breach of data protection at work must have occurred because the data controller or processor failed to adhere to the data protection legislation.
- Your personal data must have been compromised in the breach.
- You must have suffered financial harm and/or emotional harm as a result of the breach of your personal data.
In addition to meeting the eligibility criteria listed above, you must start your data breach claim before the time limit expires. For most data breach claims, this is generally six years. However, this is reduced to one year if you are claiming against a public body.
Speak with an advisor from our team today to discuss your eligibility for data breach compensation. Or, read on to learn more about the personal data breach claims process.
You may wish to know what personal data could be compromised should an employer data breach occur. Firstly, personal data is information that can identify you as the data subject.
When you ask, “my employer has lost my personal data; what was compromised?” you may like to see examples. Personal data that your employer may have on file could include your:
- Phone number
- Personal email address, but not an email address connected to the company you work for. For example, @companyname.co.uk is not considered personal data.
- National insurance number
Some personal data that may be included with your employment records could be considered special category data. This is data that is sensitive in nature and therefore given additional protections under the UK GDPR. Special category data that may be included in employment records includes:
- Racial or ethnic background.
- Religious or philosophical beliefs.
- Medical information. For example, if you told your employer of a disability so they could make reasonable adjustments to allow you to carry out your work duties.
If a lost or stolen device contains employment records with any of the personal data listed above, it could be considered a data breach. Additionally, if your employer sends a mass email using personal rather than company email addresses and fails to use the blind carbon copy (BCC) feature to conceal the addresses from each other, it could also be considered a data breach.
If the loss of your personal data by your employer caused you harm, whether financial or emotional, call our advisors. They’re available with free legal advice 24/7.
When a breach of the Data Protection Act occurs, and you suffer harm or loss, you may have grounds to claim personal data breach compensation. This section will discuss scenarios where a data protection breach at work may happen due to human error.
Below are some examples of personal data breaches:
- Your employer may accidentally email your disciplinary records to the wrong recipient
- Documents with your disability or health information may be left in an unsecured location
- Documents containing your home address are not properly disposed of i.e. the documents are put in a bin without being shredded
If you have been affected by a personal data breach, compensation could be owed to you. Get in touch for free legal advice and find out if you have an eligible claim.
If you want to sue your employer for a breach of confidentiality, then you need evidence to do so. Gathering and presenting this evidence is part of the claims process.
Here are some examples of evidence that could help support your claim if you’ve suffered due to a data protection breach at work:
- Correspondence – Whether you are informed of a data breach via email or written letter, make sure to keep a copy. If you are informed verbally, request that you are given the information in writing too.
- Financial records/bank statements – Your workplace may have information pertaining to your bank account. If so, the breach could result in unusual and unauthorised transactions leaving your account.
- Medical records – If the data breach has affected you financially, medical records could show any diagnoses or treatments you have needed.
If you’ve been affected due to an issue with data protection at work, get in touch with our advisors today. We can also give you more examples on how to help support your claim.
Following a breach of data protection at work, you might be interested in finding out the potential value of your claim. You could be awarded compensation for both your material and non-material damage.
The mental harm you have suffered due to your personal data being compromised in an accidental data breach at work is referred to as non-material damage.
When making a claim following a breach of data in the workplace, those valuing your claim for your non-material damage may refer to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This is because the JCG provides compensation guidelines for various psychological and physical injuries.
In the table below, we have listed some of the guidelines found within the 16th edition of this document. Please only use it as a guide.
|Type of Suffering||Severity||Compensation Bracket||Details|
|Psychiatric Damage Generally||(a) Severe||£54,830 to £115,730||This bracket applies to cases where the person is suffering severe symptoms and their prognosis is very poor.|
|Psychiatric Damage Generally||(b) Moderately Severe||£19,070 to £54,830||Under this bracket, the person will be experiencing significant problems. However, the prognosis will be much more optimistic than in severe cases above.|
|Psychiatric Damage Generally||(c) Moderate||£5,860 to £19,070||Those covered by this bracket may have experienced serious problems, but there will be marked improvements by trial and the prognosis will be a positive one.|
|Psychiatric Damage Generally||(d) Less Severe||£1,540 to £5,860||Consideration is given to symptoms and the length of time affected.|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)||(a) Severe||£59,860 to £100,670||This bracket applies to those who are suffering permanent issues that badly affect all aspects of their life.|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)||(b) Moderately Severe||£23,150 to £59,860||Those covered in this bracket will be experiencing significant disabilities from their symptoms. Some recovery should be possible with professional help.|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)||(c) Moderate||£8,180 to £23,150||For this bracket, the person will likely already have largely recovered. Any symptoms which remain will not be considered grossly disabling.|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)||(d) Less Severe||£3,950 to £8,180||A virtually full recovery occurs within two years.|
What Is Material Damage?
As we stated above, you might receive compensation for your material damage if your personal data was included in a data breach in the workplace. To be compensated for your material damage, you should submit evidence of this, such as a copy of your credit report.
Examples of what financial losses you could be compensated for include:
- Losses related to identity theft. For example, if a criminal gained access to your personal data, they could use it to take out credit in your name.
- Money stolen from your bank account. For example, if criminals gained access to your banking details, they could spend your funds.
Get in touch with our advisors to learn what else you could include in your claim if your personal data was compromised in a data protection breach at work.
Now that you’ve learned more about data protection in the workplace and how your personal data should be handled, you may be interested in starting a claim. One of our solicitors could help you through this process by working under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), which is a kind of No Win No Fee contract.
When you work with a solicitor under a CFA, you won’t be asked to pay any fees for them to work on your case. Likewise, your solicitor will not take a fee for their work if your claim is unsuccessful.
However, if your claim does succeed, then they will take a success fee. The success fee is taken directly from your compensation award and is deducted as a small percentage. This percentage has a legislative cap, which helps make sure that the larger share of your settlement stays with you.
Working with a professional on your personal data breach claim can come with many benefits. For example, one of our expert solicitors could help you build a strong case by helping you collect evidence.
To find out if one of our solicitors could help you after a personal data breach caused by poor data protection at work, contact our team today for a free consultation. They can tell you if your claim could be valid, and if so, they could connect you with one of our solicitors.
You can contact our advisors by:
Remember, if you have any questions at all about what you can do after an accidental data breach at work, please get in touch.
Data Breach Solicitors
Regardless of where you’re based, we can help you claim data breach compensation. Please see below for some of our dedicated guides:
- Data breach solicitors
- Grimsby data breach solicitors
- Aldridge data breach solicitors
- Barnsley data breach solicitors
- North Tyneside data breach solicitors
- Stockport data breach solicitors
- Wirral data breach solicitors
- Sunderland data breach solicitors
- Salford data breach solicitors
- St Helens data breach solicitors
- Walsall data breach solicitors
- Swansea data breach solicitors
- Newcastle Upon Tyne data breach solicitors
- Chesterfield data breach solicitors
- Derby data breach solicitors
- Kingston Upon Hull data breach solicitors
- Sandwell data breach solicitors
- Trafford data breach solicitors
- Rochdale data breach solicitors
- Sefton data breach solicitors
- Rotherham data breach solicitors
- Bolton data breach solicitors
- Folkestone data breach solicitors
- Halifax data breach solicitors
- Dover data breach solicitors
- Salisbury data breach solicitors
- Ipswich data breach solicitors
- Southampton data breach solicitors
- Oldham data breach solicitors
- Tameside data breach solicitors
- Stoke On Trent data breach solicitors
- Plymouth data breach solicitors
- Calderdale data breach solicitors
- Rhondda data breach solicitors
- Nottingham data breach solicitors
- Manchester data breach solicitors
- Liverpool data breach solicitors
- Leicester data breach solicitors
- Doncaster data breach solicitors
- Bristol data breach solicitors
- East Riding data breach solicitors
- Dudley data breach solicitors
- Coventry data breach solicitors
- Wigan data breach solicitors
- Leeds data breach solicitors
- Cardiff data breach solicitors
- Wakefield data breach solicitors
- Sheffield data breach solicitors
- Birmingham data breach solicitors
- Bradford data breach solicitors
- Wolverhampton data breach solicitors
- Solihull data breach solicitors
- Wokingham data breach solicitors
- School Data Breach Claims Guide
- Loan Company Data Breach Compensation Claims
- My Personal Data Has Been Lost After A Data Breach – What Are My Rights?
- Data Breaches Caused By Lost Or Stolen Devices
Essential References If Your Employer Breached Data Protection
If you believe your employer breached data protection laws resulting in your data breach, we have provided some additional guides which could be helpful.
- Professional negligence claims
- No Win No Fee services
- Unauthorised Access To Patient Medical Records in UK
- Claiming Compensation For Loss Of Medical Records
- Data Breach Claim Against A Solicitor
- Finding Data Breach Solicitors Near Me
Below, we’ve also linked the relevant data privacy and protection laws for the UK:
Other Useful Compensation Guides
- Foxtons Estate Agents Data Breach Compensation Claims
- Santander Data Breach Compensation Claims
- Imperial College London Data Breach Compensation Claims
- Sheffield Hallam University Data Breach Compensation Claims
- Plymouth Marjon University Data Breach Compensation Claims
- Public Health Wales Data Breach Compensation Claims
- TSB Bank Data Breach Compensation Claims
- Ramsay Health Care Data Breach Compensation Claims
- British Airways Data Breach Compensation Claims
- University Of London Data Breach Compensation Claims
- NHS Data Breach Compensation Claims
- University of Chester Data Breach
- University of Manchester Data Breach
- Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse Data Breach
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- Holmes Financial Solutions Ltd Data Breach
- Premier Inn Data Breach Compensation Claims
- Keurboom Communications Data Breach
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- Asda Pharmacy Data Breach
- Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Data Breach
- Capcom Data Breach Compensation Claims
- Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust Data Breach
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- Gordons Chemist Pharmacy Data Breach
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- Medical Data Breach Compensation Claims
- Child Adoption Data Breach Claims
- Hotel Staff Data Breach Claims
- Data Breach Claims Against United Utilities
- NatWest Data Breach Claims
- Disability And Health Info Disclosed Data Breach Claims
- Divorce Lawyer Data Breach Claims Guide
- Medication Data Breach Claim Guide
- Clinic Data Breach Claims Guide
- Illness Data Breach Claims Guide
- Customer Service UK GDPR Data Breach Claims
- Green Party Data Breach Claims
- Confidential Info Sent To The Wrong Email Address Data Breach Claims
- Children’s Services Data Breach Case Study
- A Law Firm Has Shared My Personal Data, Can I Claim?
- My Banking Details Were Breached – Can I Claim?
- Solicitors Lost My Case File – Can I Claim Compensation?
- Solicitors Sent Wrong Medical Records – Can I Claim?
- Medical Records Data Breach By A Hospital Claims Explained
- My Employer Shared My Medical Records Without Consent – Can I Claim?
- Abuse Data Breach Claims Guide
- Debt Collection UK GDPR Data Breach Claims
- My Financial Information Was Shared – Data Breach Claims
- Lawyer Data Breach – How To Claim
- Can I Claim If A Solicitor Breached My Medical Information?
- My Personal Data Was Breached Via WhatsApp – Can I Claim?
- Children’s Services Confirmed Information Has Been Breached – Can I Claim?
- An Employee Shared My Personal Data On WhatsApp – Can I Claim?
- A GP Signed Off The Wrong Person – Can I Claim Compensation?
- Universal Credit Data Breach – Could I Claim Compensation?
- Lendable Loans Data Breach – Compensation Claims Guide
- NHS Breach Of Information – Data Protection Claims Guide
- UK GDPR Breach Compensation Claims
- How To Make UK GDPR Salary Information Data Breach Claims
- Solicitors Lost My Medical Records – Can I Claim For A UK GDPR Breach?
- Gender Identity Clinic Data Breach – Can I Claim Compensation?
- Labour Party Data Breach – Could I Claim Compensation?
- Group Email Data Breach Compensation Claims
- Social Services UK GDPR Data Breach – Can I Claim Compensation?