When Could You Claim For An Accidental Workplace Data Breach?

If you have suffered a personal data breach at work, you may wonder if you could be eligible to make an accidental workplace data breach claim. In this guide, we will explain how accidental data breaches can happen in the workplace, and when you might be eligible to make a claim.

Accidental workplace data breach

Accidental workplace data breach claims guide

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the UK’s independent watchdog for data protection legislation. We will explain how the ICO enforces the UK General Data Protection Regulation along with the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA).

Personal data breaches are security incidents in which the confidentiality, availability, or integrity of personal data is compromised. In this article, we will explain how a personal data breach could occur accidentally in the workplace. We will also address the eligibility criteria for personal data breach claims, and will provide examples of guideline compensation amounts.

Our panel of No Win No Fee solicitors may be able to help you make a claim if your data is breached. Our advisors are free 24/7 to discuss your claim. Get in touch today by:

  • Contacting us online
  • Using the Live Chat feature
  • Calling us on 0800 408 7825

Select A Section

What Is An Accidental Workplace Data Breach? 

Employers act as data controllers when handling your personal information as they decide how and why they use your data. They may also act as a data processor, or a third-party may process your data on their behalf. 

When controllers or processors fail to comply with data protection legislation such as the UK GDPR and DPA, they could cause a personal data breach. Subsequently, you might suffer financial loss or emotional distress, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety due to a data breach. As a result, you could have grounds for a valid claim. 

If you think you have a legitimate reason to claim data breach compensation, our advisors could offer you a free consultation with no obligation to claim with us afterwards.

How Could An Accidental Workplace Data Breach Happen?

In this section, we’ll focus on how a workplace data protection breach could happen through human error. Accidental data breaches could occur through:

  • Misdelivery of data: An employer may send personal data to the wrong email address despite having your correct email address on file. Or a misdirected fax containing personal information could grant an unauthorised person access to your personal data.
  • Inadequate disposal: An employer may fail to correctly dispose of your private personal data. For example, they may fail to use a shredder to dispose of a document containing personal information.
  • Lack of training: Lack of cybersecurity training can contribute to accidental data breaches in the workplace. For example, if staff do not receive proper training, this could lead to employees interacting with phishing emails or downloading malware, such as ransomware and other viruses.

How Often Do Accidental Workplace Data Breaches Happen? 

The ICO is in charge of enforcing data protection laws in the UK. If an organisation is found to be in breach of this legislation, the ICO may impose a fine upon them.

The ICO noted 2,172 reported data security incidents in Q4 of 2021/22. The most often impacted industries were those of health, education and childcare. Data being emailed to the wrong recipient was the most frequent event type (381 instances), followed by other non-cyber incidents (328) and unauthorised access (287).

Our advisors can tell you if you could have a valid personal data breach claim when you get in touch today.

What Employee Data Can Employers Keep?

Employers may keep various kinds of data, including personal data. For example, your employer may keep personal data that includes your:

  • Full name
  • Home address
  • Phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Tax and salary information

Your employer may also keep special category data. Special category data is a subtype of personal data that needs extra protection under data protection legislation. In terms of special category data, your employer may keep information regarding:

  • Your race or ethnicity
  • Religious or philosophical beliefs
  • Trade union membership details
  • Information on your sexual orientation
  • Data concerning your health

Our advisors are available 24/7 to help you with any questions about an accidental workplace data breach. 

When Could I Claim For An Accidental Workplace Data Breach?

Not every accidental workplace data breach will become a valid compensation claim. There is specific criteria that your case must meet before you can begin a claim. This includes:

  • The breach must be caused by the failings of the organisation responsible for your personal data
  • You must suffer harm as a result of the breach
  • The breach must affect your personal data

Get in touch with our expert team to find out if you could work with a data protection solicitor from our panel.

Accidental Workplace Data Breach Compensation Calculator

You might be wondering how much accidental workplace data breach compensation you could claim for. Typically, there are two heads of claim:

  • Material damage covers any financial damage caused by a breach. For example, you may experience fraudulent charges on your credit card following a breach of your banking details.
  • Non-material damage takes into consideration any psychological harm you have suffered due to a breach. For example, anxiety, depression, or PTSD.

Previously, claimants could only make a non-material damage claim in conjunction with a material damage claim. However, the Court of Appeal decided through Vidal-Hall and others v. Google Inc. (2015) that you may now receive compensation for emotional distress for a data breach without also claiming for financial loss.

Additionally, a judge ruled in the case of Gulati & Ors V MGN Ltd (2015) that claimants may now claim psychological injuries in the same way they would for personal injury claims

Therefore, to determine how much you might be awarded in an accidental workplace data breach, we may use guidelines from the 16th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). The document is used by legal professionals to help them value injuries.

InjuryCompensation RangeNotes
Severe Psychiatric Damage Generally£54,830 to £115,730All elements of life are permanently affected, and the ability to cope day-to-day is reduced.
Moderately Psychiatric Damage Generally£19,070 to £54,830Significant issues similar to above, with a brighter prognosis.
Moderate Psychiatric Damage Generally£5,860 to £19,070Symptoms show a significant improvement by trial.
Less Severe Psychiatric Damage Generally£1,540 to £5,860Consideration is given to the impact on daily activities, and length of symptoms.
Severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder£59,860 to £100,670All elements of your life are expected to be detrimentally affected, including your ability to function at a pre-trauma level.
Moderately Severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder£23,150 to £59,860Although professional help could make a change to the prognosis, significant disability is likely for the foreseeable future.
Moderate Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder£8,180 to £23,150The prognosis is better than the bracket above and symptoms are not grossly disabling.
Less Severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder£3,950 to £8,180A full recovery is expected within two years, but minor symptoms may continue.

Following an accidental workplace data breach claim, our panel of specialist data breach solicitors could offer you a free estimation of the compensation you might receive. 

Begin A No Win No Fee Workplace Data Breach Claim

If your case is handled by a solicitor under a No Win No Fee arrangement, you may be offered a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). A CFA generally means you do not pay an upfront fee. If your claim succeeds, your solicitor is paid a success fee. This percentage is legally capped and will be decided with your solicitor before the claim begins. However, if your claim does not succeed, you will not pay this fee.

Talk to our advisors today to find out if your claim is valid. If it is, a solicitor from our panel may be able to offer their services under a No Win No Fee arrangement. Get in touch today by:

  • Contacting us online
  • Using the Live Chat feature
  • Calling us on 0800 408 7825

Useful Links

For more helpful external resources:

Or, for more helpful guides:

If you feel like you are ready to seek accidental workplace data breach compensation, get in touch with our advisors.

Article by EE

Publisher AA