What Happens After An Accidental Data Breach By An Employer?

Have you experienced harm as a result of an accidental data breach by an employer? If so, this guide may be beneficial to you. A personal data breach can cause harm to your finances and your mental well-being, and if you have suffered as a result of an employer’s failings, you may be able to make a claim.

accidental data breach by an employer

Accidental data breach by an employer claims guide

This guide will explore instances in which an accidental data breach could happen in the workplace. We will detail what a personal data breach is, and what kinds of personal data could be compromised.

We will also share what steps your employer could take after a breach. Furthermore, we will discuss what you can do after a personal data breach and how much you could potentially claim in personal data breach compensation.

You can also contact our advisors with any questions you may have. Our team is available 24 hours a day to help you with free legal advice.

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Select A Section

  1. What Is An Accidental Data Breach By An Employer?
  2. Why Is Data Protection Important In The Workplace?
  3. What Should Organisations Do After A Breach?
  4. What Can You Do After An Accidental Data Breach By An Employer?
  5. How Much Could You Claim For An Accidental Data Breach By An Employer?
  6. Talk To A Data Breach Claims Expert

What Is An Accidental Data Breach By An Employer?

A personal data breach is a security incident that affects the integrity, availability, and confidentiality of someone’s personal data. Personal data is information that can identify you directly or in combination with other information, such as your name, address, and mobile number.

The UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) outlines the responsibilities and obligations for processing the personal data of UK citizens. The UK GDPR works in conjunction with the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA). 

Data controllers and processors are responsible for handling your personal data in line with legislation. Data controllers decide how and why they use your personal data, whereas data processors can act on behalf of a data controller.

Your employer must also adhere to data protection law as a data controller and sometimes a data processor. If your employer does not follow data protection law, this could result in a personal data breach. If you suffer harm as a result of this breach, you may be able to make a claim.

To find out if you could have a valid claim, contact our advisors today.

Why Is Data Protection Important In The Workplace?

Data protection law applies to all workplaces, regardless of how big or small.  Therefore your employer needs to comply with data protection law. If they don’t, this could result in a personal data breach, which may in turn become a personal data breach claim.

You can ask the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to launch an investigation if a data breach compromises your personal data. The ICO cannot provide compensation, but it can impose fines on organisations that do not comply with the law. Correspondence with the ICO can also help to strengthen your claim.

However, not all instances of a data breach will form a valid claim. To form the basis of a valid claim against your employer, you must prove that the breach was due to your employer’s failings. You then must prove that you suffered financially or that your mental health suffered (e.g. anxiety, depression, stress)  because of the data breach.

Contact our advisors for more information regarding an accidental data breach by an employer.

What Should Organisations Do After A Breach?

The UK GDPR states that an organisation must inform you of a personal data breach within 72 hours if it could affect your rights or freedoms. Similarly, they must inform you as soon as possible. 

However, if the breach does not affect your rights or freedoms, the organisation has no obligation to inform you or, in some cases, the ICO. In this case, you can contact the organisation directly if you suspect a breach of your personal data. They may be able to provide more information.

Organisations could inform you of what data was affected. This will allow you to change compromised passwords, cancel credit cards that may have been affected, and take extra data protection steps.

To learn more about making a claim following an accidental data breach by an employer, contact our team.

What Can You Do After An Accidental Data Breach By An Employer?

Following confirmation that your personal data has been compromised in a data breach, you can take steps to form the basis of a successful claim. Firstly, the ICO recommends directly contacting the organisation responsible for the data breach. If you receive a dissatisfactory or no response, you can make a complaint to the ICO. 

Additionally, if it has been less than three months since your last meaningful communication with the organisation responsible, you can ask the ICO to investigate. They may be able to confirm a breach or impose a fine against the organisation.

Lastly, to make a claim, you must be able to prove that the data breach caused harm to you financially or mentally. You have up to six years to make a claim or one year if it’s against a public body.

Our advisors can provide free legal advice and more help surrounding your claim.

How Much Could You Claim For An Accidental Data Breach By An Employer?

After an accidental data breach by an employer, if your claim is eligible, you may be able to claim personal data breach compensation. This comes in the form of material or non-material damage.

Any financial losses you’ve suffered due to the data breach fall under material damage. Keeping a record of these financial losses may help you in your claim.

Any psychological injuries (e.g. anxiety, depression, stress etc.) you endured because of the data breach fall under non-material damage. Previously, claims for non-material damage were only valid in conjunction with claims for material damage. However, the Court of Appeal decided after the Vidal-Hall and Others v Google Inc. (2015) case that you could now claim non-material damage without claiming any financial losses.

The table below illustrates potential compensation brackets for non-material damage. These figures align with the latest edition of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) published in April 2022. Please only use this table as a guideline and not as a guarantee.

Edit
Non-Material Damage
(Injury)
Severity/Notes Amount
Psychiatric Harm Severe – The person will experience serious problems coping with work and life and will encounter extreme future vulnerability. £54,830 – £115,730
Psychiatric Harm Moderately Severe – The person will have problems coping with work and life and will encounter future vulnerability. But there will be a more optimistic diagnosis. £19,070 – £54,830
Psychiatric Harm Moderate – The person will suffer coping with work and life and will encounter future vulnerability. However, there will be marked improvements by trial. £5,860 – £19,070
Psychiatric Harm Less Severe – The amount awarded will depend on the length of disability and the extent to which daily activities and sleep were affected. £1,540 – £5,860
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Severe – The person will experience permanent effects. This will stop them from working and functioning the same as they did pre-trauma. £59,860 – £100,670
PTSD Moderately Severe – The person will experience a better prognosis. There will be potential for some recovery with professional help. But, the person will still have a significant disability for the foreseeable future. £23,150 – £59,860
PTSD Moderate – There will have been a large recovery. Persisting symptoms won’t be significantly disabling. £8,180 – £23,150
PTSD Less Severe – There will be an expected full recovery within 1 to 2 years. After this period, only minor symptoms will continue. £3,950 – £8,180

Our advisors can provide an estimate of what you could receive should your claim succeed.

Talk To A Data Breach Claims Expert

A type of No Win No Fee agreement, called a Conditional Fee Agreement, might benefit you if you want to pursue a claim with legal representation. A CFA comes with many benefits, including:

  • If your case isn’t successful, you are not obligated to pay for your solicitor’s services.
  • You will pay your solicitor a small success fee out of your compensation if your case is successful.

Additionally, you can contact our advisors about what you should do if you have been informed of an accidental data breach by an employer.

Contact us now:

Helpful Resources

Some additional helpful articles:

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Speak with our advisors if you’ve experienced an accidental data breach by an employer.

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