Could I Claim Compensation For A Wage Data Breach?

This guide explores what makes a valid wage data breach claim and how you can calculate data breach compensation. We give a definition of personal data, look at the laws that protect it and outline the steps you can take towards making a claim if your personal information is involved in a data breach. 

A guide to claiming after a wage data breach

A guide to claiming after a wage data breach

If you have any queries about making a claim, why not get in touch? Our advisors give free legal advice and you won’t be under any obligation to proceed with the services of our panel of solicitors. However, if you do have a strong, valid claim, our advisors could connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel.

Our advisors are here, 24/7, ready to help you. Simply get in touch by:

Choose A Section 

  1. Guidance On Claiming Compensation After Data Breaches Involving Wages 
  2. What Is A Wage Data Breach?
  3. Examples Of A Salary Data Breach
  4. How Much Could I Get For A Wage Data Breach?
  5. Benefits Of Using A No Win No Fee Lawyer
  6. Additional Information about A Wage Data Breach 

Guidance On Claiming Compensation After Data Breaches Involving Wages 

In order to make a valid data breach claim, you need to show that:

  • Your personal data was involved in a data breach
  • You suffered mental harm or financial loss, or both types of damage, as a result
  • The organisation that was entrusted with your personal data failed to protect it due to wrongful conduct

Data breaches are a potential obstacle that organisations face, with 39% of UK businesses identifying a cyber attack in the 12 months prior to the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2022. When the wage data breach consists of personal data as sensitive as individuals’ salaries, data processors and controllers must react appropriately. 

Personal data (or personal information) is data that relates to you and can be used to identify you. For example, your national insurance number, salary and name are personal information. Personal data needs to be protected.

A data processor is an entity (such as an organisation or agency) that processes personal data on a data controller’s behalf. A data controller is an organisation that confirms how and why it will process personal data. It doesn’t always need to use the services of a data processor.

Due to the nature and value of banking data, it is sought after by hackers and other parties to be used in nefarious activities. If you suffered because of a personal data breach, our advisors could help you guage whether you could claim. 

What Is A Wage Data Breach? 

In order to understand what makes a wage data breach, you must first understand what a data breach is: the unlawful or accidental destruction of, disclosure of, access to, alteration of or loss of personal information. 

Broadly, this is a security issue. Each data breach is a security incident affecting the confidentiality or availability of personal data. 

A data breach can have a marked effect on a person, which can vary depending on the scope of the breach and what information was compromised. 

In order to help prevent breaches and protect personal data, the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK General Data Protection Regulations (UK GDPR) were implemented. A guide to the UK GDPR is available with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO is an independent body that enforces data protection legislation.  

In order to make a claim for a wage data breach, you would need to show that the breach was a result of wrongful conduct. Essentially, the organisation entrusted with your data would have caused the breach through a failure to follow the law. Additionally, you must show that you suffered either material (financial) or non-material (psychological) damages as a result. 

Examples Of A Salary Data Breach

Physically-held personal data and digitally-held personal data both have vulnerabilities. Some examples of what a salary data breach could look like include:

Physical Data 

  • Incorrect disposal of paperwork containing personal data, where unauthorised persons access it
  • Loss or theft of paperwork containing personal information
  • A failure to redact personal information on published materials
  • A wage slip is posted to an unauthorised person, even though the employer has the correct address on file

Digital Data 

  • Personal data is emailed to a person who isn’t authorised to receive it
  • Personal data stored in online systems is hacked because of substandard cybersecurity
  • A failure to redact personal data in media published online

Latest Data Breach Statistics

As well as taking measures to help protect our personal data, the ICO records quarterly data security incident trends. In the 4th quarter of 2021/2022, there was a total of 2,172 data breaches across different sectors. In finance, insurance and credit, 173 data breaches were reported. Of these, 35 resulted from emails being sent to the wrong recipients, whereas 20 and 14 were attributed to ransomware and phishing, respectively.

In total, the most common cause of breaches was the emailing of data to the incorrect recipients.

How Much Could I Get For A Data Breach?

Compensation for data breach claims is valued on a case-by-case basis because each claim is unique. In this section, we aim to help you understand how data breach awards are calculated.

You could seek up to two types of damages if you make a successful data breach claim: material damage and non-material damage.

Non-Material Damage

Non-material damages are the psychological impacts a wage data breach has on you. For example, you could seek compensation for stress, anxiety and depression caused. 

The Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) is a publication that solicitors can use when valuing a personal injury claim. It lists injuries alongside potential compensation amounts. Legal professionals can also use it to value non-material damage in data breach claims. 

We’ve included figures from the 16th edition JCG (produced in April 2022) in the compensation table below. Please use this for illustrative purposes only. If you’d like our advisors to value your claim for free, simply get in touch.

InjurySeverityCompensation BracketsNotes
Psychological Damage Generally (a)Severe£54,830 to £115,730Problems with future vulnerability, ability to cope with life, education and work.
Psychological Damage Generally (b)Moderately Severe£19,070 to £54,830The prognosis will be much better than above but significant problems remain.
Psychological Damage Generally (c)Moderate£5,860 to £19,070There may be the kind of problems associated with severe damage but there will be marked improvement.
Psychological Damage Generally (d)Less Severe£1,540 to £5,860The length of the period of disability and the extent daily activities like eating and sleeping were affected are considered for the level of the award.
Anxiety Disorder (a)Severe£59,860 to £100,670Permanent effects prevent the injured person from working or functioning near pre-trauma levels. All aspects of the injured’s life are badly affected.
Anxiety Disorder (b)Moderately Severe£23,150 to £59,860Distinct from the above with better prognosis, allowing for some improvement with medical help. There will be a significant disability for the foreseeable future.
Anxiety Disorder (c)Moderate£8,180 to £23,150The person will largely recover and continuing effects will not be grossly disabling.
Anxiety Disorder (d)Less Severe£3,950 to £8,180Virtually full recovery will be made within one to two years. Minor symptoms may persist over a longer period.

Material Damages 

These are the financial ramifications of a wage data breach. A data breach involving your banking information could result in theft from your account or credit score fraud, for example. If the personal data breach caused you psychological harm, you may find yourself having to pay for counselling. You could recover the financial losses in a data breach claim. 

Benefits Of Using A No Win No Fee Lawyer? 

Should you choose to have legal representation, your data breach solicitor might offer their services on a No Win No Fee agreement. 

This arrangement allows you to affordably fund the services of a solicitor and removes the threat of upfront or ongoing solicitor fees. Instead, you don’t have to pay until after the legal proceedings have concluded. And even then, you’d only pay the solicitor for their services if the claim is successful. If it’s not successful, you don’t have to pay this fee. The fee is capped by law and our advisors can discuss it with you before you decide to make the claim. 

Ask About Wage Data Breach Claims

If you have any questions about hiring a No Win No Fee solicitor or would like to make a claim, then contact our team of advisors for a free consultation. They’re available 24/7 and won’t oblige you to continue with our services. 

Additional Information About A Wage Data Breach

If you need any more information relating to data breach claims, why not see the below?

Data Breach Reporting  

Self Assessment For Data Breaches 

Data Protection Make A Complaint

If these sources were useful, you may wish to read further: 

Data Breach FAQs

How Much Could My Data Breach Claim Be Worth?

How To Report A Data Breach

If you’d like to know whether you could make a wage data breach claim, get in touch today.

Publisher Ruth Vernon

Writer Ryan Walsh