If your employer has breached the UK GDPR and you’ve been harmed as a result, you might be wondering whether you could do anything about it. In this guide, we will discuss what constitutes an employer data breach and when an employee may be eligible for compensation due to harm caused by a breach of the Data Protection Act 2018, which enshrines in law the UK GDPR. We will explore who can make a data breach claim in case of a breach of data protection at work and the consequences an employee may face for breaching GDPR. Additionally, we will provide tips on proving a data protection breach at work and give examples of data breach compensation.
We will also answer common questions about breaches of data protection at work, including whether an employee can sue their employer for exposure of their data and what damages could be awarded in a successful claim.
While it is common for employers to collect personal data from their employees, they have a legal obligation to safeguard their employees’ data. Therefore, if an employer data breach occurs, the employer may have to deal with the ICO. However, the employee may also suffer emotional distress or financial losses, for which the employer may be held liable.
If you’d like to know whether you could be eligible to claim data breach compensation, you should find the guide below useful. If you have any questions or would like to begin a claim, you can contact an advisor via any of the methods below.
Am I Eligible To Claim Because My Employer Breached The UK GDPR?
The UK GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) requires employers to protect the personal data of their employees. Employers have a legal obligation to collect and process personal data in accordance with the GDPR principles. They must also implement appropriate measures to ensure employee data is kept safe and secure. These measures include technical and organisational safeguards such as encryption, access controls, and employee training.
When an employer breaches the UK GDPR, it can harm the affected employee. This harm can be both financial and emotional. Financial harm may include losses resulting from identity theft or fraud, while emotional harm may include stress, anxiety, or embarrassment. In some cases, a data breach can also damage an employee’s reputation or lead to discrimination.
To be eligible for compensation for a breach of the UK GDPR, an employee must demonstrate that the employer acted wrongfully and that they suffered harm as a result. The employee must also be able to prove that the harm they suffered was a direct result of the data breach.
How Long Would I Have To Claim If My Employer Breached The UK GDPR?
Under the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), an individual has the right to claim compensation for damages suffered as a result of an employer’s breach of the regulation. The time limit for making a compensation claim is governed by the Limitation Act 1980, which provides a general limitation period of six years from the date of the breach.
However, in some cases, the six-year limitation period may not apply. For example, if the breach was not immediately apparent, the limitation period may start from the date when the individual became aware of the breach. In addition, if the individual is a child or lacks mental capacity, the limitation period may be extended. In some cases, the limitation period could be shorter too.
It is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible if you believe you may have a claim for compensation under the UK GDPR. Delay in making a claim could result in the limitation period expiring and your right to claim being lost.
How Could An Employer Breach Personal Data?
An employer could wrongfully breach personal data in several ways. Some common ways include:
- Lack of Data Security Measures: An employer could fail to implement proper data security measures such as encryption, secure passwords, and firewalls, leading to unauthorised access to personal data.
- Unauthorised Access: An employer could allow unauthorised access to personal data by employees who do not have a legitimate reason to access it.
- Improper Disposal: An employer could dispose of personal data improperly by throwing it in the bin rather than shredding it or otherwise securely disposing of it.
- Insider Threats: An employee could intentionally or unintentionally misuse personal data, such as by selling it to a third party or accidentally sharing it with unauthorised individuals.
All of these actions could result in a wrongful breach of personal data, which could lead to serious consequences for both the employer and the individuals whose data was compromised. Should you have suffered harm from a data breach, why not call an advisor to see if you could claim compensation?
Has An Employer Breached Personal Data Before?
In 2015, Carphone Warehouse experienced a significant data breach due to a cyber attack, which resulted in over 1,000 employees having their personal data compromised. Additionally, personal information belonging to 3 million customers was accessed by the perpetrators. The breached information included sensitive details such as names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, and even marital status. To make matters worse, the criminals were able to obtain payment card details from over 18,000 customers. Due to Carphone Warehouse’s failure to properly safeguard their employees’ and customers’ information, the company was fined £400,000 by the ICO.
What Damages Could Be Appropriate When An Employer Has Breached The UK GDPR?
When an employer breaches the UK GDPR, there are several types of damages that could be appropriate depending on the specific circumstances of the breach. These damages could include:
- Compensation for financial losses: This could include reimbursement for any out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the affected individuals as a result of the breach, such as the cost of credit monitoring services, bank charges, or legal fees.
- Compensation for non-financial losses: This could include damages for distress, embarrassment, or anxiety caused by the breach. For example, if an employee’s personal data was accessed without authorisation, they may experience significant stress and anxiety as a result.
Calculating Non Financial Losses
Solicitors in England and Wales could use a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines to assist them in valuing claims. It provides details of guideline payout amounts for general psychological injuries.
- Severe – £54,830 to £115,730
- Moderately Severe – £19,070 to £54,830
- Moderate – £5,860 to £19,070
- Less Severe – £1,540 to £5,860
These are only very rough guidelines, however. Please call for further insight into how much you could claim.
No Win No Fee Data Breach Claims
If you have been a victim of a data breach at work and you believe that your employer has breached the UK GDPR, you may be able to make a No Win No Fee data breach claim. Here is how you can make a successful claim with the help of our panel of data breach solicitors:
- Gather evidence – To make a successful claim, you will need to provide evidence of the data breach. This can include any emails, documents, or other evidence that you have that shows that your employer breached the UKGDPR.
- Contact our advisors. Our advisors can offer expert advice and guidance on your claim, and can help you to understand the process and what you need to do to make a successful claim.
- Make a claim: Once you have gathered all the evidence an advisor has connected you with a solicitor from our panel, you can make a claim. Your solicitor will handle the entire process for you, from filing the claim to negotiating a settlement. They will ask you to sign a Conditional Fee Agreement. This means you would not pay for their work upfront. You’d only pay them a success fee if your claim was successful.
- Receive your compensation: Once a settlement has been reached, you will receive your compensation. This can be used to cover any expenses you incurred as a result of the data breach, such as medical bills, lost income, or emotional distress. The success fee would be deducted from your compensation, and this would be capped under the Conditional Fee Agreements Order 2013.
With the help of our panel solicitors, you can make a successful claim and receive the compensation you deserve.
To get started:
Further Help If An Employer Has Breached The UK GDPR
Below, we have provided useful links for further reading about data breach claims.
The Carphone Warehouse Data Breach – You can find details of what action the Information Commissioner’s Office has taken here.
GDPR – Here, you can find the full EU GDPR.
Report A Data Breach – Details of how to report a breach can be found here.
Wage Data Breach – Learn whether you could claim compensation if your wage data is breached.
Salary Data Breach – Has your salary data been wrongfully exposed? Find out whether you could be eligible for compensation.
Human Error Data Breach – Find out of a human error leading to a data breach could give rise to a claim.