A breach of data protection at work could happen in various ways, and could have numerous impacts on victims. Whether your wage data, disciplinary record or medical data has been breached, it could impact you financially, or emotionally. Sometimes, you might suffer both types of harm. But did you know it could be worth seeking compensation. If your employer has acted wrongfully, breaching your personal data and causing you harm, this guide will give you insight into the compensation you could claim.
If you believe you have been affected by a data protection breach at work, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experienced data breach advisors. We’re here to answer your questions, provide guidance, and help you start a compensation claim.
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Understanding Data Protection Breaches At Work
In the UK, data protection is governed by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018. These laws place a legal obligation on employers to protect the personal data of their employees and take necessary measures to prevent data breaches.
A data protection breach occurs when there is unauthorised access, loss, or disclosure of personal data. This can happen due to various reasons, such as cyberattacks, employee negligence, or inadequate security measures. Examples of data breaches at work include unauthorised access to employee records, accidental email distribution of sensitive data, or a cybercriminal gaining access to a company’s database.
If you’ve been a victim of a data breach at work, you may have the right to seek compensation for the harm and distress caused if your employer has acted wrongfully. The GDPR provides individuals with the right to claim compensation for both material and non-material damages resulting from a data breach. Material damages can include financial losses, while non-material damages encompass emotional distress, reputational harm, or loss of privacy.
Several factors are considered to determine the compensation amount. These include the severity of the breach, the type and amount of data compromised, and the impact on the individual’s personal and financial well-being. It’s crucial to gather evidence of the breach and its consequences to support your claim.
Rights And Remedies For Data Breach Victims
Under the GDPR, you have the right to be informed about the collection and use of your personal data. If a data breach occurs, your employer has a legal obligation to notify you without undue delay, especially if the breach poses a high risk to your rights and freedoms.
In the event of a data breach, you have the right to seek compensation for both material and non-material damages. Material damages can include financial losses, such as identity theft-related expenses or financial fraud. Non-material damages encompass emotional distress, anxiety, and reputational harm.
To claim compensation, you will need to provide evidence of the breach, the impact it had on you, and the resulting damages. It is advisable to gather any relevant documentation, such as breach notifications, correspondence, and records of any financial losses incurred.
In some cases, individuals may choose to pursue compensation through negotiation or alternative dispute resolution methods. However, if a resolution cannot be reached, you have the right to bring a legal claim against your employer or the responsible party involved in the breach.
It’s crucial to seek legal advice from a qualified professional specialising in data breach claims. They can assess the strength of your case, guide you through the claims process, and advocate for your rights to ensure you receive fair compensation.
Assessing The Impact Of A Data Breach
Understanding the impact of a data breach is crucial for evaluating the compensation you may be entitled to as a victim. Various factors contribute to the severity of a data breach and the resulting harm caused. Let’s explore these factors in more detail.
- Nature and Sensitivity of the Data – The type of data compromised plays a significant role. Personal information like names, addresses, or financial details can pose higher risks compared to less sensitive data.
- Financial Consequences – Any financial losses incurred as a direct result of the breach, such as unauthorised transactions or identity theft, should be documented and considered when determining compensation. The costs involved with correcting your credit score could also be considered.
- Emotional Distress – A data breach can cause significant emotional distress, anxiety, and mental anguish. The level of distress experienced by individuals is an important factor in assessing the non-material damages they may be entitled to.
- Reputational Harm – If a data breach leads to reputational damage, affecting your personal or professional standing, this can impact your future opportunities and should be taken into account. After all, this could have a long term impact on your future. It could also cause you extreme stress.
- Mitigation Efforts – Demonstrating any steps taken to mitigate the effects of the breach, such as notifying relevant authorities, changing passwords, or enlisting credit monitoring services, can be important in determining compensation.
- Long-Term Implications – Consideration should be given to any potential long-term consequences resulting from the breach. This could include ongoing monitoring requirements, the risk of future harm, or the need for identity theft protection.
Determining Compensation Amounts For A Breach Of Data Protection At Work
When it comes to determining compensation amounts for a data breach, various factors come into play. One essential aspect is assessing the psychological harm inflicted on the affected individuals. The Judicial College Guidelines provide valuable insights for evaluating compensation specifically for psychological harm.
The Guidelines help quantify the impact of psychological harm by considering the severity, duration, and effects of the distress caused. They provide a range of potential compensation values based on different levels of psychological harm experienced.
For instance, minor psychological harm, such as short-term anxiety or distress, may fall within a lower compensation range. On the other hand, more severe psychological harm, leading to long-lasting trauma or debilitating mental health conditions, may warrant higher compensation.
You can see examples of the brackets below. However, these are only very rough indications.
- 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
To determine the appropriate compensation amount, a thorough evaluation of the psychological impact is necessary. This can involve gathering evidence from medical professionals, therapists, or mental health assessments to establish the extent of the harm suffered.
Additionally, the impact on an individual’s day-to-day life, relationships, and overall well-being should be considered. Factors like disrupted sleep, loss of enjoyment in activities, or difficulties in maintaining personal relationships may contribute to the overall assessment.
No Win No Fee Claims For A Breach Of Data Protection At Work
At first glance, pursuing a compensation claim may seem daunting, especially if you are concerned about the costs involved. However, making a claim for a data breach at work can be done on a No Win No Fee basis, under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).
A CFA is a type of agreement between you and your solicitor, where you agree to pay a success fee only if your case is successful. This means that you do not have to pay anything to your lawyer upfront, and in the event that you do not win your case, you will not be responsible for paying for your solicitor’s work. This arrangement can provide you with financial peace of mind and remove the financial burden of pursuing a claim.
The success fee is usually a percentage of the total compensation awarded to you. This fee is limited to a maximum percentage, as set out in the law. The success fee ensures that the solicitor is incentivised to win your case, as they will only receive payment if you are successful in your claim.
Start Your Claim With Our Help
Our team of experienced data breach claims advisors can connect you with a solicitor specialising in No Win No Fee claims under a CFA. If you are unsure about pursuing a claim due to financial concerns, we can provide you with the guidance and support you need to take the next steps.
Contact our data breach advisors today to discuss your options for making a No Win No Fee claim under a CFA:
Further Insight Into Compensation For A Data Protection Breach At Work
Below, we have included some links to useful guidance relating to a data protection breach at work.
Advice On Claiming Data Breach Compensation For Distress – Learn about data breach distress claims here.
What Is Data Theft And Can You Claim Compensation? – Learn about claiming for data theft.
When Is A Credit Card Data Breach Claim Possible? – Learn about claiming for a breach of your credit card data.
Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – Data breaches and compensation are explained by the ICO in this guide.
GOV.UK – If you’re interested in making a data protection complaint, this page could be useful to you..
Employment Tribunal – Making a claim for a data breach is explained by the employment tribunal here.