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Trade Union Membership Data Breach Compensation Claims

If a data controller or data processor exposed your personal information in a trade union membership data breach, you might be interested in starting a claim. This article will explain why trade union membership data is protected and who may breach it. We also have a compensation calculator to help you estimate how much compensation you could receive.

trade union membership data breach

A guide on claiming after a trade union membership data breach

For further information on making a claim with Legal Expert, you can:

Select A Section

  1. What Is A Trade Union Membership Data Breach?
  2. Does The UK GDPR Protect Trade Union Membership Data?
  3. How Should Trade Union Membership Data Be Processed?
  4. Statistics On Cyber Security Breaches 
  5. Trade Union Membership Data Breach Compensation Settlements
  6. Contact A Data Breach Claims Specialist

What Is A Trade Union Membership Data Breach?

Before understanding a trade union membership data breach, it is important to understand what a trade union is.

A trade union consists of workers or employees that want to protect or advance interests in the workplace. Due to the nature of trade unions, they often possess personal data regarding their members. A personal data breach is a security incident that has affected personal data confidentiality, integrity, or availability. It may be accidental or unlawful. 

Trade union membership data is special category data. The UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) defines special category data as personal data that requires extra protection due to its sensitivity. Personal data is any information that identifies you, for example, your surname, sexuality, or date of birth.

You can report a data breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which upholds the principles outlined in the UK GDPR.

What Is Covered By Special Category Data?

Special category data is personal information relating to you that is sensitive. If exposed, special category data can have a major impact on your rights and may lead to unlawful discrimination. 

Special category data covers the following information about a data subject:

  • Racial or ethnic origin.
  • Political opinions.
  • Religious and philosophical beliefs.
  • Trade union membership.
  • Genetic data.
  • Biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person.
  • Data concerning health.
  • Sex life and sexual orientation.

Our solicitors may be able to help if you have been the subject of a trade union membership data breach. Speak to an advisor for more information by using the live chat feature at the bottom of this screen. 

Does The UK GDPR Protect Trade Union Membership Data?

The UK GDPR protects personal data. Under the UK GDPR, data controllers and data processors should follow the below principles. (Data controllers decide why and how your personal data is processed. Data processors are organisations that controllers sometimes use to help process data.)

  1. Confidentiality and integrity: The controller and processor should not breach confidentiality, integrity, or security when processing data. Personal data could be lost or stolen if it is not properly secured. The same security applies to a device that holds personal data.
  2. Minimisation of data: They must only collect data for necessary purposes.
  3. Limitation of purpose: They should explicitly state the purpose of processing personal data to the data subject and data must not be used for unspecified purposes.
  4. Accountability: Data controllers and processors must show compliance.
  5. Transparency, lawfulness and fairness: It should be clear why personal data is processed, and the processing must be fair and lawful.
  6. Limitation of storage: The data controller or processor should store data for the minimum period necessary.
  7. Accuracy: Data should be accurate and updated when required.

A trade union membership breach could happen if the data controller or processor neglects the principles of UK GDPR. Get in touch with our team of advisors for more information.

How Should Trade Union Membership Data Be Processed?

The UK GDPR forbids data controllers and processors from processing special category data without your explicit consent (unless there’s a lawful basis for processing that provides an exception).

Furthermore, the Data Protection Act 2018 states that processing which is carried out by a not-for-profit body that processes data for the purposes of establishing or maintaining membership is exempt from 

If you think you have suffered a trade union membership data breach, you may be eligible to make a claim. Get in touch today.

Statistics On Cyber Security Breaches 

The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021 offers the latest statistics on cybersecurity and data breach incidents in the UK. The sixth survey in the annual series indicates that phishing remains the most common threat to businesses and charities.

Moreover, four in ten businesses (39%) identified breaches or attacks. The number of reports had dropped by 7% compared to 2020.

However, that’s not to say that the risk level is not high. There was a 5% drop in businesses using security monitoring tools and a further 6% fall in businesses undertaking any form of user monitoring. 

Inadequate cyber security protection may lead to a trade union membership data breach.

Illustrating Rates Of Data Breaches 

We’ve put together a table to help you understand the latest statistics.

Cyber Security Protection in Businesses 2020 2021
Security monitoring tools 40% 35%
User monitoring 38% 32%
Up-to-date malware protection 88% 83%
Network firewalls 83% 78%

Ready to make a claim? Speak to our advisors today.

Trade Union Membership Data Breach Compensation Settlements

Under UK GDPR legislation, it is possible to claim material damage in a trade union membership data breach caused by the data controller or processor’s wrongful conduct.

However, you must provide evidence for any financial costs you have incurred due to the incident. For example, if you have suffered stress due to a data breach and require medication to cope with this, you could provide a receipt of your prescription fees.

In addition, you can now claim for non-material damage, irrespective of whether you have suffered any material damage. A Court of Appeal case, Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc (2015), ruled you can now claim for psychiatric damage caused by a data breach even if you haven’t suffered financial loss because of it. Therefore, we can estimate compensation amounts using the Judicial College Guidelines, a publication used by solicitors to help value claims.

Injury Severity Injury Bracket Notes
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Severe £56,180 – £94,470 All aspects of your life, including your ability to work, will be detrimentally affected.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Moderate £7,680 – £21,730 There is a good chance of recovery and any ongoing symptoms are not likely to cause too many problems in the future.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Less Severe Up to £7,680 You will have recovered from any mental harm caused within two years.
General Psychiatric Damage Severe £51,460 to £108,620 Prognosis is likely to be poor and you will struggle to cope with aspects of your life, including your ability to work.
General Psychiatric Damage Less Severe £1,440 to £5,500 How long your disability lasts decides what end of the bracket you will be awarded.

If you’d like our advisors to value your claim for free, why not get in touch?

Contact A Data Breach Claims Specialist

Now that you know more about trade union membership data breach compensation settlements, you may be interested in pursuing a claim.

The cost of finding legal representation can be off-putting, but it doesn’t have to be expensive.

A No Win No Fee solicitor can provide legal representation without the financial risks traditionally associated with hiring a solicitor. You wouldn’t have to pay any upfront or ongoing fees through this agreement. 

Furthermore, if your claim is unsuccessful, you don’t have to pay your solicitor whatsoever. However, if you win compensation, a legally-capped percentage will be deducted.

Our team at Legal Expert can connect you with one of our experienced No Win No Fee lawyers. They may be able to help you seek compensation if they think your claim is strong enough. 

Reach out:

Breach Of Data Protection Resources

Here are some additional resources that you may find useful. 

Taking your case to court and claiming compensation – The ICO offers further guidance on how to claim compensation in court.

Trade Union Membership – Statistics from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Services on trade union membership in the UK.

What are the rules on special category data? – The ICO provides information on special category data.

Take a look at more of our specialised guides. 

In terms of real-life examples, a significant breach occurred in March 2023 when Capita, which administers the pension funds for dozens of organisations, suffered a cyber attack, including some of the biggest funds in the country. For more advice on the Capita data breach and compensation claims, head here

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – What to do if you have suffered PTSD due to a data breach.

Employer Personal Data Breach – How to find personal data breach experts to help you with your claim. 

Professional Negligence Claims – A guide on how much compensation you can claim for professional negligence.

You are one step closer to making a claim in the event of a trade union membership data breach, get in touch with us today.

Written by Jennings

Edited by Victorine

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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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