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My Ethnicity Was Disclosed In A Data Breach – Can I Make A Claim?

By Lewis Cobain. Last Updated 24th June 2024. Has your ethnicity been exposed in a personal data breach? If so, this guide may have important information on whether you could be eligible to make an ethnicity data breach claim.

The UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 are both pieces of data protection legislation. The UK GDPR states that information about your race or ethnicity is special category data. Special category data means that the information is of a sensitive nature. So, what happens if an organisation breached sensitive data? Moreover, can you make a data breach claim if you suffer emotional harm because of the exposure?

Under the UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018, victims of a personal data breach can claim compensation if they have experienced emotional distress or psychiatric injuries. However, this is only if you can prove that a party was liable for the breach.

Legal Expert can provide you with an experienced data breach lawyer who can manage your data breach claim. Our solicitors have solid experience handling claims for a data breach. And what’s more, you will have the option to make a No Win No Fee claim.

To begin your compensation claim, please get in touch with us using the details below:

Ethnicity data breach

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What Is An Ethnicity Data Breach?

A personal data breach is a security incident whereby personal or special category data is lost, destroyed, stolen, accessed, disclosed without authorisation, through deliberate action or by human error. Therefore, an ethnicity data breach is a breach that compromises the security of information about the data subject’s race or ethnic group. Human error can cause a data breach. Or a bad actor may deliberately carry out a data breach.

Examples of how a data breach can take place:

  • The organisation loses the data, deletes or alters it in a security incident
  • A malicious actor steals the data
  • An employee shares personal data with people who have no authority to see it
  • The organisation loses devices with stored personal data that are not password protected.

Under certain circumstances, you can claim compensation for a personal data breach. Firstly, the data controller, generally organisations that say why and how data is processed, failed to adequately protect such information. Secondly, you must have experienced emotional distress, psychological injuries or financial losses because of the data breach. For example, you may have developed PTSD or suffered from depression or lost money.

Please get in touch with Legal Expert to discuss your situation, and see if you have ground to claim.

What Is Special Category Data Under The UK GDPR?

Special categories of personal data, as outlined in the UK GDPR, is any information that relates to you or may identify you but is considered to be of a more sensitive nature. Therefore, additional safeguards apply in order to protect this information from a UK GDPR breach.

Your race and ethnicity is classed as special category data. As such, organisations have a responsibility to ensure that this data is protected when being collected. Failure to do so may result in you suffering harm or loss.

Other examples of sensitive information may include:

  • Data on your sex or gender;
  • Sexuality data;
  • Philosophy or religious beliefs;
  • Political beliefs;
  • Biometric data;
  • Genetic data;
  • Health data.

Get in touch to find out if you could get data breach compensation after your ethnicity or sensitive personal information was breached and you suffered stress or financial harm.

Who Could Hold Your Ethnicity Data?

Lots of forms you may fill in could ask about your ethnicity. It is vital that when a data controller handles this type of data for processing they add extra precautions to protect it.

Parties that may collect your ethnicity data include:

  • Your employer
  • A local council
  • Social services
  • The police force
  • A trade union
  • A public body or government organisation

You may have grounds to make an employer data breach claim if your employer is liable for a breach that exposes personal information about you. This can be data that can directly identify you or information that could be used in conjunction with other data to identify you. Likewise, if a data controller failed to adhere to data protection laws and this results in a breach that causes you harm you may be able to claim compensation from them.

How To Report An Ethnicity Data Breach

If an organisation has breached your personal data and this affects your rights and freedoms, they will normally notify the Information Commissioner’s Office within 72 hours. They must inform you without undue delay.

However, if you believe you have discovered a data breach, you should raise your concerns with the organisation. So, please contact the data protection officer or relevant department to make your complaint as soon as possible. Normally, an organisation will be able to resolve the matter internally.

If the organisation does not resolve the matter, you can report the data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO is the public body responsible for upholding the data security laws in the UK. The Information Commissioner’s Office may investigate the sensitive data breach and issue the organisation with a fine. However, they do not award compensation.

Call our data breach advisors to have you case looked over for free. You can contact Legal Expert to enquire about making a data breach claim today.

How Could An Organisation Breach Your Ethnicity Data?

Organisations are responsible for safeguarding personal data. Moreover, employers and other organisations should take special care to protect special categories of personal data. Unfortunately, there are many ways that an organisation could cause an ethnic data breach.

Personal data can be handled by many different kinds of workers, such as care workers, medical staff, HR managers and staff at a bank. Organisations should comprehensively train their staff on how to correctly handle personal data properly. If there is a lack of training on data security then there is room for a data breach to occur.

Human error is one of the main causes of personal data breaches. For example, an HR data breach could happen if an employee’s employment file is left on a desk for anyone to access. This file could include lots of personal data including information about the employee’s ethnicity.

Data breaches can also happen because of malicious actors. For example, hackers may use malware to gain unlawful access to a company’s employee database. Subsequently, the hackers may use the stolen sensitive data to blackmail the company or employees. Therefore potentially causing emotional distress of financial losses.

How Is A Compensation Payout Calculated?

In successful personal data breach compensation claims, you can be awarded up to two heads of loss:

  • Material damage – compensation for any financial losses incurred
  • Non-material damage – is compensation for any emotional distress or psychological injuries suffered

The severity of the damage suffered dictates how much compensation you could receive. For example, if you develop severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of the breach, you could receive a high payout if you’re no longer able to work or function normally.

Find Out How To Make A No Win No Fee Claim

All our data breach solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis. When you call about your ethnicity data breach case our advisors will assess the merits of the claim in a free consultation. When they can see that the case may succeed in a successful outcome they will offer to appoint one of our solicitors.

A No Win No Fee service will require you to sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). There is no upfront fee for the solicitor to start work on your case. Instead, you will pay a success fee if you win your claim. However, you won’t pay a success fee if you do not win your claim.

To begin your No Win No Fee data breach claim, please get in touch with Legal Expert using the details below:

  • Ask us a question right now, using our Live Support widget
  • Call our compensation claims helpline on 0800 073 8804
  • Or you can use our online claims form to begin

Where To Read More

We appreciate that you have taken the time to read our guide on ethnicity data breaches. In addition to our article, here is some more information about data privacy breaches.

Human Error Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide

Pharmacy Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide

Do Data Breach Protection Solicitors Offer No Win No Fee Claims?

A government guide on what PAYE information employers can keep on employees

An ICO guide to claiming compensation for a data breach and taking your case to court

Information about your data protection rights under the UK GDPR

Learn how to make a school data breach claim with our helpful guide and find out more about the data breach claims process.

Thank you for reading our guide on whether you can claim compensation for an ethnicity data breach.

Guide By Chelache

Edited By Melissa.

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