Can I Sue My Employer For Emotional Distress After A Data Breach?

You may be wondering, “can I sue my employer for emotional distress after a data breach?” This guide will clarify in what instances you may be able to make data breach claims. Additionally, we will illustrate how much you could receive due to experiencing emotional distress due to your personal data being breached. 

sue employer for emotional distress after a data breach

If you have any questions about claiming for data breach distress, please contact our 24/7 team of advisors. They can inform you if you can claim and also provide you with a compensation estimate. Furthermore, they can also connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel who specialises in data breach claims. 

You can contact us on a no-obligation basis at a time that works for you using the details below. 

  • Call us – 0800 408 7825
  • Use our website to write to us
  • Use the chat bubble to send us your query

Continue reading to understand how you could claim for emotional distress after a data breach. 

Select A Section

  1. What Is Emotional Distress After A Data Breach?
  2. How Could Emotional Distress After A Data Breach Impact You?
  3. Can I Sue My Employer For Emotional Distress After A Data Breach?
  4. What Steps Should I Take If Impacted By Emotional Distress After A Data Breach?
  5. Data Breach Distress Compensation Calculator
  6. Talk To A Data Breach Claims Expert

What Is Emotional Distress After A Data Breach?

Before answering questions like, “can I sue my employer for emotional distress after a data breach?” it’s important to understand the relevant terminology.

What Is A Data Breach? 

Any third party that handles your personal data, such as your employer, is either a data processor or data controller. Examples of personal data include your name, address, date of birth, email address and phone number. Some third parties will also have financial details, such as your bank account details. 

A data breach is when information such as this is lost or altered, accidentally or unlawfully destroyed, or disclosed or accessed without the required authority. Whether you can claim depends on several factors presented in this article. An important one is that the third party must have performed some positive wrongful action to cause your information to be breached. 

What Is Emotional Distress?

Emotional distress is a type of mental anguish that can lead to various symptoms. It can negatively impact your life, which can strain your relationship with loved ones. It can also affect your ability to perform your job. 

How Could Emotional Distress After A Data Breach Impact You?

You may be seeking data breach distress compensation because a data breach has negatively impacted you. As a data processor or controller, your employer must adhere to The Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR)

If your data has been breached because they haven’t sufficiently protected it, you could be suffering from emotional distress. You could suffer mental health issues from this, such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks and, in extreme cases, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

To learn more about whether you can claim for this, you can contact our team of advisors. They offer legal advice that is completely free and are available 24/7. Contact them to see if you can claim using the above details. 

Can I Sue My Employer For Emotional Distress After A Data Breach?

The answer to questions such as, “can I sue my employer for emotional distress after a data breach?” depends on if the data processor or controller performed positive wrongful conduct that caused the breach. This section will provide examples of instances that may warrant a claim. 

You may be suffering from emotional distress because: 

  • Your employer sent your personal details to the wrong email address. This may have exposed your personal information to people who have no right or need to access it.
  • Your employer posted documentation that includes your bank account details to the wrong address after you provided them with the updated one. 
  • A data processor or controller failed to use BCC correctly, resulting in other people being made aware of sensitive personal information. An example of this came in the 56 Dean Street Clinic data breach in which an email was sent to hundreds of people being treated for HIV without the sender using blind carbon copy. As a result, everyone’s email address was exposed, from which others could identify individuals.

Data breaches could lead to identity theft and financial loss in extreme cases. Even if exposing this kind of data doesn’t necessarily result in that occurring, knowing that your personal data has been breached could cause long-term emotional distress. You could feel that you’re constantly under threat of having your identity stolen. 

It’s important to remember that all of the above examples are ones that show that your employer has performed positive wrongful conduct. For instance, you wouldn’t be able to claim if an employer sent documentation to your old address if you hadn’t updated them of the change. 

Can You Claim For Distress Under Data Protection Laws?

In data breach claims, there are two types of damages you may be able to claim compensation for. You can claim for non-material damage (psychological injuries) and material damage (financial losses).  

As such, when answering the question, “can I sue my employer for emotional distress?” you could potentially claim for that as well as financial losses caused by the data breach.

Financial losses can include, for example, compensation for money taken from your account or loss of earnings due to being signed off work by stress. The Data Protection Act 2018 and UK GDPR outline the responsibilities of the data processor and controller and how you can claim compensation. 

To learn more about the GDPR breach compensation amounts you could receive, please contact our team for 24/7 legal advice. It’s free to contact us, and we can inform you quickly and easily if you’re able to claim.  

What Steps Should I Take If Impacted By Emotional Distress After A Data Breach?

If you’re asking questions such as, “can I sue my employer for emotional distress after a data breach?” you may be unsure of the options that are open to you. If your employer has suffered a data breach resulting in your data being exposed or stolen, they need to inform you as soon as they become aware of this. This includes detailing the exposed information. 

However, you may believe that your data has been breached without them informing you. If you suspect this, you can complain to your employer directly. If you’re unsatisfied with their response, you have three months from the date the final correspondence was sent to you to complain through the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The ICO are an independent authority designed to uphold the information rights of people in the UK. Furthermore, they help regulate and provide guidance regarding how your personal information needs to be secured. 

Data Breach Distress Compensation Calculator

The ruling in Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc [2015] means that you no longer need to suffer financial loss from a data breach to claim for psychological issues caused by it. Therefore, you can now claim for material or non-material damages after a data breach or potentially both.

The Judicial College can provide you with more information about what you could receive for non-material damage. They create compensation brackets by examining awards made by the courts. These brackets only indicate what you could receive as every case is independent of one another, and many factors determine the amount of compensation for data breach claims.  

Type of InjurySeverityAmount of CompensationDescription
General Psychiatric Damage Less Severe£1,440 to £5,500The amount the injured person could receive for this injury depends on factors including the negative impacts of the injury and how it has affected sleep and daily activities.
General Psychiatric Damage Moderate£5,500 to £17,900The injured person will struggle to cope with aspects of life, including work, education and interpersonal relationships. However, there will be a good prognosis because there will be a marked improvement by trial.
PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)Less Severe£3,710 to £7,680The extent of the injury will mean that an almost complete recovery will be made within a year or two. Any symptoms that last over two years will only be minor.
PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)Moderate£7,680 to £21,730The injured person will largely recover from this injury. As such, continuous symptoms will not be particularly disabling.

For a more precise estimate relevant to your data breach claim, please get in touch with us.

Talk To A Data Breach Claims Expert

When a solicitor works your case under a No Win No Fee agreement, you would only have to pay their legal fees at the end of a successful case. They would take a success fee, which is a portion of your compensation award. This amount is legally capped and means you don’t have to worry about paying their legal fees during the claims process. 

Additionally, there would also be no hidden costs – they would make you aware of all potential costs before you agree to use their services. 

You can contact our advisors at any time that suits you to see if you can claim for emotional distress caused by a data breach.

They can inform you if you can claim and provide you with a compensation estimate. Additionally, they can connect you with a solicitor from our panel who specialises in data breach claims. They can work your case on a No Win No Fee basis. 

Contact us using the below details. 

  • Call us – 0800 408 7825
  • Use our website to write to us
  • Use the chat bubble to send us your query

Read More About Data Breach Claims

Use the below links to learn more about claiming for stress and other mental health issues caused by a data breach:

The ICO provides more information about your data protection rights

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport provides statistics about cyber security data breaches

Read this page on the ICO website to learn how to be data-aware

Would you like data breach compensation examples to give you a better idea of what you could receive? If so, read this guide on our website. 

Read this guide to see if you can claim for a police data breach

You may be able to claim if you suffered from an optician’s data breach

To learn more about the process of claiming data breach compensation, head here.

Do you still have questions such as “can I sue my employer for emotional distress for a data breach?” If so, please contact our advisors for free advice using the above details.