Welcome to this guide, which answers the question of ‘Can I make a data breach claim against my employer?’ In recent years, there has been an increasing number of data breaches, including those by employers, in the UK. When an employer mishandles an employee’s personal data, it can cause significant harm, including financial loss, emotional distress, and damage to their reputation. As such, employees have the right to claim compensation for any harm caused by a data breach by their employer.
This guide will provide an overview of data protection law in the UK, explain how to make a data breach claim against an employer and discuss the benefits of claiming a No Win No Fee agreement.
Additionally, we’ll explain how our advisors could assess your case and help you take the first steps towards claiming the compensation you deserve. If you’d like to speak to an advisor today, you can get in touch at any time.
Understanding Data Protection Law In The UK
Data protection law in the UK is governed by the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018. These laws set out the rules and requirements that organisations, including employers, must follow when processing and storing personal data.
Under the GDPR, personal data is defined as any information that can be used to identify an individual, such as their name, address, or date of birth. Employers are required to take appropriate measures to protect their employees’ personal data, including implementing technical and organisational measures to prevent unauthorised access, loss, destruction, or alteration.
If an employer acts wrongfully and fails to comply with data protection laws and their employee’s personal data is mishandled or lost, the employee may be entitled to compensation for any harm caused.
Examples Of How Employers Could Breach Personal Data
Here, we provide some examples of how personal data could be breached at work.
- An employer fails to properly secure its computer systems, leaving them vulnerable to hacking. As a result, the personal data of employees is stolen, including names, addresses, and financial information.
- An employer accidentally sends an email containing personal data to the wrong address. This could happen if the employer accidentally selects the wrong recipient from a list or if they forget to add a recipient to the email.
- An employer leaves a folder containing confidential employee data on a train or in a public place. This could happen if an employee takes the folder home to work on it and then forgets it on their commute the next day.
- An employer fails to properly dispose of sensitive documents containing personal data. This could happen if the employer throws the documents in the bin rather than shredding them, leaving them accessible to anyone who happens to find them.
- An employer uses personal data for a purpose that was not disclosed to the individual concerned. For example, an employer might use an employee’s personal data to send them marketing materials without their consent.
These are just a few examples of how an employer could breach data. It is important for employers to take all necessary steps to protect personal data and to handle it responsibly and ethically. If they fail to do so, they may be liable for any harm caused by the breach.
Making a Data Breach Claim Against Your Employer
If you believe that your employer has mishandled your personal data, and harmed you, you may be entitled to make a data breach claim against them. The following steps should be taken:
Step 1 – Gather Evidence
Before making a data breach claim, you should gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim. This may include copies of emails, letters, or any other documents that relate to the data breach. You should also make a note of any conversations you have had with your employer about the breach.
Step 2 – Inform Your Employer
You should inform your employer of the data breach as soon as possible. This will give them the opportunity to investigate the breach and take steps to prevent further breaches from occurring. You should also make a note of the date and time you informed your employer of the breach.
Step 3 – Contact a Solicitor
It is highly recommended that you seek the advice of a solicitor who specialises in data breach claims. They will be able to advise you on your legal rights, the strength of your case, and the amount of compensation you may be entitled to.
Step 4 – Make Your Claim
Your solicitor will guide you through the process of making a data breach claim against your employer. They will prepare a claim on your behalf and negotiate with your employer’s insurers to reach a settlement.
Time Limits for Making a Data Breach Claim Against An Employer
In the UK, there are strict time limits for making a data breach claim in accordance with the Limitation Act 1980. You must typically make your claim within six years of the data breach occurring. However, there could be shorter limitation periods for claims against certain public bodies.
It is important to note that if you fail to make a claim within these time limits, you may lose your right to claim compensation. Please call an advisor to find out how long you could have to launch your claim.
No Win No Fee Claims – Can I Make A Data Breach Claim Against My Employer Without Paying Upfront?
No Win No Fee agreements, also known as Conditional Fee Agreements, can be a useful option for those who want to make a data breach claim but cannot afford to pay for legal fees upfront.
Under a No Win No Fee agreement, your solicitor will not charge you any legal fees unless your claim is successful. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will take a percentage of your compensation as their fee. This fee is capped by the Conditional Fee Agreement Order 2013.
Should you wish to learn more about making a claim under an agreement like this, please call us. An advisor could talk you through the process of making a No Win No Fee claim.
Compensation for Data Breach Claims
If your employer has mishandled your personal data, you may be entitled to compensation for any harm caused. The amount of compensation you can claim will depend on the nature and severity of the harm you have suffered.
Compensation may include:
- Non-Material Damages – This is compensation for the pain, suffering, and emotional distress caused by the data breach.
- Material Damages: This is compensation for any financial losses you have incurred as a result of the data breach, such as costs associated with identity theft, for example.
Non-Material Damages In Data Breach Claims
The Judicial College Guidelines are a set of guidelines that provide information on the appropriate levels of compensation for various types of personal injury claims in the UK. While these guidelines were not explicitly designed for data breach claims, they can still be useful in helping solicitors work out the appropriate level of compensation for non-material damages in such claims.
For example, if a data breach has caused an individual to suffer from depression and anxiety, a solicitor may refer to the Judicial College Guidelines to determine an appropriate level of compensation for these non-material damages. The guidelines provide a range of compensation amounts based on the severity of the depression and anxiety, as well as other factors such as the length of time the individual has suffered.
However, it is important to note that the Judicial College Guidelines are just that – guidelines. They are not binding, and a judge may choose to award a different amount of compensation based on the specific circumstances of the case.
To find out how much compensation you could receive for such a claim, why not speak to an advisor? They could help you work out how much you could claim. Additionally, they could connect you with a data breach solicitor from our panel. The solicitor could assist you in making a claim for compensation.
Get In Touch To Start Your Claim
If you believe that your employer has mishandled your personal data, it is important to take action as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation for any harm caused by the data breach, including financial loss, emotional distress, and damage to your reputation.
Making a data breach claim can be a daunting process, but with the right support and guidance, you can achieve a positive outcome and receive the compensation you are entitled to.
- Call to get started with a claim – 0800 408 7827
- Contact us online and we’ll call you back.
- Use live chat to speak to an advisor.
Can I Make A Data Breach Claim Against My Employer? – Further Guidance
How Does Funding Work In Data Breach Claims? – Learn about funding options for your claim.
What Is The Limitation Period For A Data Breach Claim? – Find out how long you could have to claim.
What Factors Influence The Amount Of Compensation In A Data Breach Case? – Learn more about calculating compensation.
Data Security When Working From Home – Guidance from the ICO can be found here.
Does An Organisation Need My Consent? – Learn about your data rights here.
Latest Cyber Issues – Find insight into cyber security threats here.