How To Claim Compensation For A Trade Union Membership Data Breach

Following a trade union membership data breach, you might be entitled to seek data breach compensation. In this guide, you’ll find out how to claim for a data breach in the UK that has involved your personal details.

You may be wondering, ‘what is trade union membership?’. A trade union is an organisation that has a membership made up of workers. They look after the interests of workers; different trade unions will cover different kinds of jobs. 

Trade union membership data breach

Trade union membership data breach guide

Additionally, you might wonder, ‘is trade union membership personal data?’. Personal data is any data that someone can use to identify you. Personal data relating to your trade union membership is classed as special category data because this information is regarded as more sensitive and therefore requires extra protection. Special category information can also include information on medical conditions, for example. 

Ahead of beginning our guide, you may already have questions for our team. Our advisors are available to answer any queries 24/7. Furthermore, they could connect you to our panel of data breach solicitors who could help you claim a data breach payout.

For a free consultation with no obligation to use our services afterwards, and to see whether you can claim compensation, you can get in touch via the following ways:

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Can I Claim Compensation Against A Trade Union For A Data Breach?

There is key legislation in place that makes it possible for you to claim following a trade union membership data breach that has caused you harm. The Data Protection Act 2018 sets out the framework that trade unions should follow when handling your personal data. 

Additionally, the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) overlooks how data should be protected when being processed. Trade unions act as data controllers, which means that they decide when and how personal data is processed. An organisation that processes data on behalf of a data controller is a data processor. 

If a trade union commits wrongful conduct when handling your data, resulting in a data breach, you might be able to claim. However, you must have suffered psychological harm and/or financial loss as a result of the trade union membership data breach that has exposed your personal data.

Our advisors can confirm whether you are eligible to claim. If you do have a valid claim, you could be connected with our panel of solicitors to get the compensation you may be owed.

What Is A Trade Union Membership Data Breach?

When a trade union membership data breach occurs, you should report the incident to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) within 72 hours. The ICO is an independent body that investigates data breaches and upholds the data right may fine companies who do not comply with data protection law.

The ICO states a data breach is a security incident that impacts the confidentiality, security and integrity of your personal data. In order to be classed as data, information must be stored. It can either be stored digitally, for example, on a memory stick. It can also be stored physically. However it’s stored, personal data must be protected. 

Speak to an advisor to find out if our panel of solicitors could help you make a trade union membership data breach claim. 

Examples Of Data Breaches Involving Trade Unions

All organisations, including trade unions, must adhere to the key principles of data protection. Furthermore, they must not process personal data without a lawful basis for doing so.

A trade union membership data breach involving your personal data could occur as a result of an act of deliberate malice, or because of human error. For example:

  • Personal data being emailed to the wrong person, where the recipient is not authorised to view the information
  • Personal data posted or faxed to the wrong person, where the recipient is not authorised to view the information
  • A failure to redact information where necessary, for example when an information pack is being sent to all members 
  • A failure to use BCC in emails containing personal data 
  • Loss or theft of paperwork that contained personal data 
  • Verbal disclosures to unauthorised parties provided that the information is stored elsewhere either physically or digitally 

In October 2021, Unite the Union were found to have committed breaches of Regulation 21 of the UK GDPR. Over a twelve-month period, 55,665 unsolicited marketing calls were made to subscribers who were registered with the Telephone Preference Service. Subsequently, the ICO imposed a monetary penalty. 

Data Breach Stats

The latest data security incident trends published by the ICO in Q4 2021/22 revealed that membership associations dealt with 25 incidents. Some of the most common incident types reported were:

  • Data emailed to the wrong person (381 incidents)
  • Data posted or faxed to the incorrect recipient (217)
  • Ransomware (142) 
  • Failure to redact (109)
  • Loss or theft of paperwork or data left in insecure location (140)

Our panel of solicitors could help confirm if you have a valid claim. Get in touch to find out more.

How Much Can I Get For A Trade Union Membership Data Breach Claim?

When we discuss how much compensation you may receive for any psychological injuries caused by a trade union membership data breach, we refer to this head of claim as non-material damage. 

In the past, you could only claim for non-material damage if you had suffered a financial loss. However, in the case of Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc (2015), the Court of Appeal ruled you could be compensated for psychological harm without any requirement for you to have suffered financially. 

Therefore, we may use compensation ranges featured in the 16th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines to value your injuries. We have included these in the table below instead of a compensation calculator

Please remember that the figures below are simply estimations of what you could receive and your actual settlement will vary.

InjuryCompensation RangeNotes
Severe Psychological Injury and Harm £54,830 to £115,730You are likely to struggle with all aspects of your life, including your ability to work and sleep.
Moderately Severe Psychological Injury and Harm £19,070 to £54,830The award within this bracket is influenced by the impact of treatment.
Moderate Psychological Injury and Harm £5,860 to £19,070Symptoms could have an impact on relationships in your life.
Less Severe Psychological Injury and Harm £1,540 to £5,860The prognosis is a lot more optimistic however daily activities may still be affected.
Severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder£59,860 to £100,670Your ability to work may be affected, whilst other aspects of your life are negatively impacted.
Moderately Severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder£23,150 to £59,860You’ll struggle with significant disability in the future, however professional help could make a marked improvement on your prognosis.
Moderate Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder£8,180 to £23,150The impact of ongoing symptoms does not affect you too much.
Less Severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder£3,950 to £8,180Although there are minor symptoms, a full recovery is likely within a year or two.

Details About Material Damage

Material damage relates to financial losses caused by a data breach, for example a loss of earnings, or expenses such as prescription fees that you pay to cope with your psychological injuries. You might claim for losses that have already happened, or that are predicted to happen in future.

We would recommend that you keep hold of wage slips, receipts and bank statements that could prove any financial loss. Without evidence, it could be difficult for you to receive this back. 

A solicitor from our panel could help you gather evidence to support your claim. If you’re concerned about funding the work of a lawyer, please read on to find out about No Win No Fee agreements.

Advice On How To Get A No Win No Fee Agreement

You might wonder about the benefits of a No Win No Fee agreement, which is essentially a way of funding legal representation. A Conditional Fee Agreement is a popular form of No Win No Fee agreement. 

Here are some of the benefits:

  • No upfront fee is required to get your claim underway
  • Ongoing legal costs are covered by the agreement, and you don’t pay for your lawyer’s services if your claim loses 
  • You’ll pay a success fee to your solicitor, but only if your claim is successful
  • The success fee is legally capped to avoid you from being overcharged

Ask About Making A Trade Union Membership Data Breach Claim

Our panel of solicitors may process your claim on a No Win No Fee basis. They do this because our team wants what is best for you. We don’t want to leave you out of pocket when you’ve possibly already suffered enough financial harm because of the breach.

To find out if we could help you, you may:

  • Get an instant response by using our live chat
  • Our telephone line is open 24/7 and can be reached at 0800 408 7827 
  • Or contact us to request a callback

Further Guidance About Making A Trade Union Membership Data Breach Claim

Before we conclude our guide, you might be interested in the following resources:

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)  – Useful advice on PTSD from the NHS.

Your data matters – The ICO offers guidance to your data protection rights.

About the NCSC – Find out the role of the National Cyber Security Centre.

We’ve also included more of our guides below:

If you feel like you are now ready to make a trade union membership data breach claim, get in touch and we might be able to help.

Writer Lewis Julius 

Publisher Fern Stump