The importance of protecting your personal information at work cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, data protection breaches can happen in the workplace, and they can have serious consequences for your privacy and financial security. If you’ve experienced a data breach at work, you may be entitled to compensation. In this guide, we explain what a data breach is, how to claim compensation for a data breach at work, and what to expect during the data breach claims process.
If you have any questions or would like to begin a claim, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our advisors. We’re here to help you understand your legal rights and guide you through the compensation process.
Data Protection Breaches At Work Explained
Data protection breaches occur when personal information is accessed, stolen, or disclosed without authorisation. In the workplace, this can happen when an employer fails to secure sensitive data or doesn’t properly train employees on data protection protocols. Examples of data breaches at work can include lost laptops, hacking attacks, or accidental emails sent to the wrong address that reveal confidential information.
If you believe that your personal information has been compromised in a data protection breach at work, it’s essential to take action quickly. Not only could your privacy be at risk, but you could also experience financial losses or even identity theft.
What Is A Data Protection Breach At Work?
A data protection breach at work occurs when personal information is accessed, stolen, or disclosed without authorisation. This can happen due to a variety of reasons, including:
- Human error, such as accidentally emailing sensitive information to the wrong person
- Cyberattacks, such as hacking or phishing attacks
- Theft of physical equipment that contains personal data, such as a laptop or USB drive
It’s important to note that not all data breaches lead to harm or financial losses. However, if your personal information has been wrongfully exposed, you have the right to seek compensation for any damages you may have suffered.
Types Of Data Protection Breaches At Work
There are several types of data protection breaches that can occur in the workplace. Some common examples include:
- Cyberattacks – These can include hacking or phishing attacks that compromise sensitive data, such as passwords or credit card information.
- Physical theft – This can happen when an employee or contractor steals physical equipment that contains sensitive information, such as a laptop or USB drive.
- Human error – Accidentally emailing confidential information to the wrong person, leaving documents containing personal information in public places, or failing to properly dispose of confidential documents can all lead to data breaches.
- Insider threats – Employees or contractors with access to sensitive information can intentionally or unintentionally leak confidential data to unauthorised parties.
No matter how a data breach occurs, it’s important to take immediate action to protect your privacy and financial security.
Legal Rights For Claiming Compensation For A Data Protection Breach At Work
If you’ve suffered a data breach at work, you may be entitled to compensation under UK law. The UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides specific guidelines for data protection breaches, and your employer has a legal obligation to protect your personal information.
To claim compensation for a data protection breach at work, you’ll need to demonstrate that the breach happened due to wrongful actions by the data controller and caused you harm or financial loss. This can include expenses related to identity theft or fraudulent transactions, as well as emotional distress or loss of privacy.
Understanding Conditional Fee Agreements And No Win No Fee Claims For Data Breaches
Conditional fee agreements (CFAs), also known as No Win No Fee agreements, can be an option for people looking to claim compensation for a data breach at work. With a CFA, your solicitor will only charge you if your claim is successful. If you don’t win, you won’t have to pay for your lawyer’s work
No Win No Fee agreements can be helpful if you’re worried about the cost of making a claim. It also means that your solicitor is highly motivated to win your case, as their fee is dependent on the outcome.
However, it’s important to note that if your claim is successful, your solicitor will take a percentage of your compensation as their fee. This is typically around 25% of the amount awarded, as per the Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013, but it can vary depending on the solicitor and the specifics of your case.
How To Prove A Data Protection Breach At Work
To claim compensation for a data protection breach at work, you’ll need to prove that the breach occurred due to wrongful action of the data controller and that it caused you harm or financial loss. This can be challenging, as data breaches can be complex and difficult to prove.
Some steps you can take to help prove your case include:
- Documenting the details of the data breach, including the date, time, and nature of the breach
- Collecting any evidence that supports your claims, such as emails, texts, or physical equipment that was stolen
- Keeping a record of any financial losses or expenses related to the data breach, such as bank fees or legal fees
- Seeking professional advice from a data breach compensation expert who can help you understand your legal rights and provide guidance on the claims process
How To Calculate Compensation For A Data Breach Claim
The amount of compensation you may be entitled to for a data breach at work will depend on the specifics of your case. Some factors that can impact your compensation amount include:
- The severity of the breach and the harm caused
- The financial losses you’ve experienced as a result of the breach
- The emotional distress or loss of privacy you’ve experienced
A data breach compensation expert can help you calculate the potential value of your claim and guide you through the compensation process.
Guidance On Non-Material Damages In Data Breach Claims
The Judicial College Guidelines provide legal professionals with a framework for calculating the amount of compensation that could be awarded for non-material damage in a data breach claim.
Non-material damage refers to the emotional distress, loss of privacy, and other intangible harm that can result from a data breach. This type of harm can be difficult to quantify, but the Judicial College Guidelines provide guidance on how to do so.
The Guidelines provide a range of compensation amounts for different types of non-material damage, based on the severity of the harm and the impact it has had on the individual. For example:
- 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
Legal professionals can use the Guidelines to help them determine an appropriate compensation amount for their clients, based on the specifics of their case. This can help to ensure that clients receive fair and reasonable compensation for the harm they’ve experienced as a result of a data breach.
It’s worth noting that the Judicial College Guidelines are not binding, and each case will be assessed on its individual merits. However, they can provide a useful starting point for legal professionals when calculating non-material damage in a data breach claim.
Steps to Follow When Making a Data Protection Breach Claim at Work
If you’ve experienced a data protection breach at work and believe you may be entitled to compensation, here are some steps to follow:
- Gather evidence and document the details of the breach.
- Contact a data breach compensation expert to discuss your legal rights and options.
- Decide whether you want to pursue a No Win No Fee claim or a different fee arrangement with your solicitor.
- File your claim.
- Work with your solicitor to build a strong case and pursue the compensation you’re entitled to.
Start Your Claim Today
If you’ve experienced a data protection breach at work, you have legal rights and options for seeking compensation. By understanding the types of data breaches that can occur, the legal framework for making a claim, and the steps involved in pursuing compensation, you can protect your privacy and financial security. If you have any questions or need guidance on the claims process, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our advisors.
Can I Claim For A Data Protection Breach At Work – Further Guidance
Finally, we have provided some useful links if you’d like to read more about making such claims.
Can I Claim Compensation For A Salary Data Breach? – Here, you can learn what to do if your salary data is breached.
Advice On Claiming Data Breach Compensation For Distress – Learn about the distress that could be caused by a data breach and how you could claim for it.
Connect With The Best Data Breach Lawyers For Your Case – How to find lawyers to help you with your claim.
The Data Protection Act 2018 – You can find the full text of the act here.
Employment Guidance – Find guidance from the ICO on data protection as an employer.
Guidance On Identity Theft – The ICo provides guidance on how to protect yourself from identity theft.