Data protection is a vital concern for every individual, especially in the workplace. Employers have a legal responsibility to protect their employees’ personal information, but sometimes this responsibility is breached. This raises questions like “Can my employer give out personal information without my consent? And can I claim compensation for a data breach?”
If you’re reading this guide, it’s likely that you have been affected by a data breach in the workplace. In this guide, we will explore the legal requirements and responsibilities that employers have when it comes to data protection, as well as your rights as an employee.
We’ll delve into the details of GDPR compliance, data privacy laws, and sensitive personal data, and how these laws apply to the workplace. We’ll also explain what a data breach is, the types of information that can be breached, and what to do if you suspect a breach has occurred.
Furthermore, I’ll cover the topic of compensation claims for data breach claims, including No Win No Fee options and how to calculate compensation. After all, it’s important to understand the legal remedies available to you and the steps you can take to seek compensation for the damage caused by a data breach.
If you have any questions about data breaches or would like to begin a claim, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our advisors. Our team is here to help you every step of the way.
Understanding Data Breaches – What They Are And How They Happen
The Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) set out the legal requirements for protecting personal information in the UK. A data breach occurs when personal information is accidentally or unlawfully destroyed, lost, altered, or disclosed. It could happen due to wrongful action of a data controller, such as an employer, or an external party.
Examples of data breaches include the theft of a laptop or mobile phone containing personal data, the sending of sensitive information to the wrong person, and the hacking of a database containing personal data. Healthcare providers, schools, banks, credit card companies and other organisations that hold sensitive personal data are all potential targets for data breaches.
A data breach can cause harm to the individuals whose personal data is exposed. This could include identity theft, financial loss, psychological harm, and reputational damage. If you have been affected by a data breach, it’s essential to seek advice on your legal rights and options for claiming compensation.
Employer Data Protection – Legal Requirements and Responsibilities
Under the UK GDPR, employers have a legal responsibility to protect their employees’ personal information. They must ensure that personal data is processed lawfully, fairly, and transparently, and that appropriate security measures are in place to protect against data breaches.
If you believe your employer has breached your personal information, you can complain to the UK regulator, the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office). The ICO can investigate and fine companies that breach the UK GDPR. Additionally, individuals have the right to claim compensation for the damage caused by a data breach, including financial losses and emotional distress.
How Long Do I Have To Claim?
It’s important to note that there are time limits for making a compensation claim. In most cases, the time limit is typically six years from the date of the breach, but it’s essential to seek legal advice as soon as possible to ensure you don’t miss any deadlines. After all, some claims have shorter limitation periods.
Can My Employer Give Out Personal Information Without My Consent?
In most cases, employers cannot give out personal information without your consent. There are exceptions, however, such as when the disclosure is necessary to comply with a legal obligation or when it’s in the public interest. For example, an employer may be required to disclose personal information to the police in the event of a crime.
If your employer has given out your personal information without your consent and you have suffered harm as a result, you may be able to claim compensation.
One hypothetical scenario could involve an employer sharing an employee’s medical information with a third party, such as a co-worker or a potential employer. This breach could result in the employee experiencing discrimination or harassment, as their medical information is used against them. Another example could involve an employer sharing an employee’s financial information, such as their bank details, with an unauthorised third party. This could result in the employee suffering financial loss, such as identity theft or fraud.
In some cases, employers may accidentally send personal information to the wrong recipient, such as an email containing sensitive personal data sent to the wrong person. This could result in the employee suffering reputational damage or emotional distress.
Regardless of the type of breach, it’s important for employees to know that they have legal rights and options for seeking compensation if their employer has acted wrongfully in exposing their data. Seeking legal advice from a data breach compensation expert is essential to ensure you are aware of your options and can make an informed decision about pursuing a claim.
The Role Of A Solicitor In Data Breach Claims
A solicitor can be very beneficial when making a claim, especially in complex cases such as data breach compensation claims. Here are some ways in which a solicitor could help you:
- Legal expertise – A solicitor has the legal expertise to help you understand your legal rights and the legal process involved in making a claim. They can provide you with legal advice on the best course of action to take, and can also advise you on the amount of compensation you may be entitled to.
- Investigation: A solicitor can carry out an investigation into the data breach to gather evidence to support your claim.
- Negotiation: A solicitor can negotiate with the organisation responsible for the breach on your behalf to secure a fair compensation payout.
- Litigation – If necessary, a solicitor can represent you in court if your claim cannot be settled through negotiation. They can advocate for your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
What Compensation Can I Receive?
When a data breach occurs, individuals affected by the breach may suffer various damages, both financial and non-financial. These damages are taken into account when calculating compensation payouts. Financial losses, such as expenses for credit monitoring or identity theft protection, are considered, along with non-financial damages like emotional distress, loss of privacy, and damage to reputation.
To receive compensation, evidence must be presented to support the claim. The more evidence that can be provided to demonstrate the harm caused by the breach, the higher the likelihood of receiving a payout. Evidence may include documentation of financial losses, medical records, or expert testimony regarding the impact of the breach on the individual’s mental health or well-being.
The Judicial College Guidelines provide a framework for determining compensation for non-material damages in data breach claims. These guidelines set out different levels of compensation for non-material damages, depending on the severity of the harm suffered. Examples are listed below:
- Severe psychological harm – £54,830 to £115,730
- Moderately severe psychological harm – £19,070 to £54,830
- Moderate psychological harm – £5,860 to £19,070
- Less Severe psychological harm – £1,540 to £5,860
However, these are only rough guidelines. Legal professionals can help determine what damages can be claimed and provide legal advice.
Can My Employer Give Out Personal Information Without My Consent And Can I Claim Compensation Under A No Win No Fee Agreement?
If eligible, a No Win No Fee data breach solicitor can work on your behalf to secure the compensation you deserve. A Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) sets out the terms of your solicitor’s fees, and ensures that you will not be required to pay for your solicitor’s work upfront. Instead, your solicitor will only be paid if your claim is successful, and their fees will be deducted from your compensation award.
If you believe that you may be eligible to receive a payout for a data breach compensation claim, you can contact the advisors by calling 0800 408 7827, using live chat, or filling out the online contact form to determine your eligibility. The advisors will help you navigate the claims process and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Further Advice On Can My Employer Give Out Personal Information Without My Consent And Can I Claim Compensation?
Finally, please see some links for further reading on data protection and compensation claims. We hope you find them useful.
Claiming Compensation If Confidential Information Is Sent To The Wrong Email Address – Wrong e-mail address data breaches are covered in this useful guide.
How Much Compensation Can You Claim For A GDPR Breach? – You can learn about calculating compensation in this guide.
What Evidence Do I Need To Support My Data Breach Claim? – Gathering evidence for your claim is covered here.
UK government – Data protection and privacy in the workplace information.
Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – Information about employers and Data Protection.
ACAS – Monitoring and surveillance of staff guidance.