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Former Employer Data Breach UK GDPR – Can I Claim Compensation?

If a former employer data breach has harmed you, you may be eligible to claim compensation. This guide explains why employers and former employers must protect employees’ data. Moreover, we will inform you what to do if your former employer breaches the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) or the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR).

Former employer data breach

Former employer data breach claims guide

If a data breach at your former workplace has affected you, please get in touch with Legal Expert to see if you could claim compensation. If your claim is valid, one of our solicitors could connect you with a data breach solicitor to help.

Our advisors can offer a free consultation, through which they can evaluate your claim, offer free legal advice, and answer any questions you may have about the claims process.

To get in touch with one of our team:

Select A Section

    1. What Is A Former Employer Data Breach?
    2. Why Do Former Employers Need To Protect Data?
    3. How Should A Former Employer Deal With A Data Breach?
    4. Are You Eligible To Claim For A Data Breach By A Former Employer?
    5. Settlements For A Former Employer Data Breach
    6. Talk To Our Claims Experts About A Former Employer Data Breach

What Is A Former Employer Data Breach?

Personal data is information that can identify you as a person, such as your full name or phone number. It’s normal for employers to collect, process and store personal data belonging to staff members, but they must do so in accordance with the UK GDPR and DPA.

A former employer data breach occurs when your former employer allows a security incident to compromise the integrity, availability, or confidentiality of your personal data to be compromised. Your former employer could act as both a data controller and a data processor. A controller makes the decisions regarding the use of your data, whereas the processor processes your data on behalf of the controller.

How Can A Data Breach Happen?

You can only claim for a personal data breach if it is caused by the data controller or data processor. If you can establish that their wrongful conduct lead to the breach, then you may be eligible to claim. Some examples of how a breach could occur because of this include:

  • An employer can accidentally send personal data to the wrong email address or the wrong address by post, allowing an unauthorised person access to your data
  • An administrator could neglect to use the blind carbon copy (BCC) feature on an email, causing a human error data breach and allowing fellow recipients to see each others’ email addresses.
  • A company could have inadequate cyber security measures, enabling hackers to steal personal data.

Please contact Legal Expert if you want to claim compensation for a former employer personal data breach. An advisor can let you know if you meet the right criteria to make a claim.

Why Do Former Employers Need To Protect Data?

Employees are obligated to comply with the DPA and the UK GDPR in order to protect the personal data of current and former employees. This is because failing to do so could result in a personal data breach, which could have serious effects on the data subject.

For example, if your former employer were to verbally disclose information about your medical conditions to an unauthorised party, this could result in undue stress and anxiety. If this effect on your mental health is severe, you may be unable to work, which could lead to a loss of earnings.

The impacts of a personal data breach can be serious and far-reaching. To learn more about how you could be compensated for this harm, read on, or contact an advisor from our team.

How Should A Former Employer Deal With A Data Breach?

If an employer breaches personal data belonging to their former employees, they must assess the situation to see if it compromises the data subject’s rights and freedoms. If that is the case, the organisation must:

  • Report the data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office, the UK public body that enforces data protection law. This must be done within 72 hours.
  • Notify the data subject of the breach without undue delay

If you receive notification of a personal data breach, you can approach the organisation responsible and ask for more information. They may be able to tell you what data was affected and how.

However, if you do not hear back within three months, you can contact the ICO and make a complaint. The ICO may then open an investigation into the case, the findings of which could be used as evidence in your claim.

Are You Eligible To Claim For A Data Breach By A Former Employer?

As previously stated, in order to make a claim for a former employer data breach, your case must meet the criteria laid out by the UK GDPR. These include:

  • The breach has to affect your personal data
  • It must be the result of the processor or controller’s failings
  • You have to suffer harm because of the breach

If you can prove that all three of these statements are true of your case, then you may be eligible to make a personal data breach claim. Get in touch with our team of advisors today to find out if you could be eligible to claim for a personal data breach.

Settlements For A Former Employer Data Breach

You may be wondering how much data breach compensation you could receive following a successful former employer data breach claim. Compensation in data breach claims can be split into two heads: Material damage compensation, and non-material damage compensation.

Non-material damage compensation covers the psychological harm caused by the breach. For example, a breach could cause you to suffer from mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD. In this case, you could claim non-material damage compensation.

Solicitors will often use the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to help them value non-material damage settlements. You can find some examples of these amounts in the table below. Please note that these figures are guidelines only.

Compensation Amounts

Edit
Type Of Mental Harm Estimated Payout – JC Guidelines Notes
Severe Mental Harm £54,830 to £115,730 The person faces difficulties in all areas of their life. This could extend from their work to education and relationships.
Moderately Severe Mental Harm £19,070 to £54,830 The person could also face issues across all parts of their life, but they have a better prognosis than the severe category.
Moderate Mental Harm £5,860 to £19,070 The person should have a better prognosis and will have improved by trial.
Less Severe Mental Harm £1,540 to £5,850 Payouts are based on the duration of the injury and symptoms.
Severe Reactive Psychiatric Disorder £59,860 to £100,670 A severe injury leaving the person with permanent symptoms. These symptoms prevent the person returning to their pre-trauma life.
Moderately Severe Reactive Psychiatric Disorder £23,150 to £59,860 The prognosis is better than the one above though symptoms are similar.
Moderate Reactive Psychiatric Disorder £8,180 to £23,150 The person could make a close to full recovery. However, they could still have some non-disabling symptoms.
Less Severe Reactive Psychiatric Disorder £3,950 to £8,180 In one year the person should make a close to full recovery.

Material Damage Compensation

Material damage compensation covers the financial losses caused by the breach. For example, if money is stolen from your bank account by cyber criminals, or if the fraudulent use of your credit card results in damage to your credit score, these expenses could be covered under material damage compensation.

To learn more about what you could potentially receive, get in touch with our team today.

Talk To Our Claims Experts About A Former Employer Data Breach

If your former employer has breached your data, get in touch with Legal Expert to seek free legal advice. If our advisors find your claim to be valid, they may connect you with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors.

One of our solicitors could offer you their services through a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). Typically, you do not need to pay any upfront or ongoing fees to your solicitor when accessing their services through a CFA.

In fact, the only fee you need to pay under a CFA comes if your claim succeeds. This success fee has a legislative cap, which enables you to keep the majority of your award. But, if your claim fails, you don’t have to pay this fee.

To find out if you could be eligible to claim on a No Win No Fee basis:

Workplace Data Breach Claims Resources

To learn more about making a data breach claim:

Or, for more resources:

We appreciate you taking the time to read our guide to claiming compensation for a former employer data breach.

Written by Chelache

Edited by Hampton

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    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.

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