What Happens If An Employee Breaches UK GDPR – Can I Claim?

By Stephen Anderson. Last Updated 18th October 2023. What happens if an employee breaches UK GDPR? Does this mean personal data has been exposed?

In order to safeguard against personal information being mishandled or exposed organisations that decide why and how data is collected must adhere to legislation such as the UK General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which works alongside the Data Protection Act 2018.

These laws ensure that all organisations that handle our personal information must put steps in to protect it. If an employee caused a data breach through human error could this mean those affected are entitled to make a personal data breach claim?

In this article, we discuss how you can put together a claim for compensation based on a data breach that impacted you. Perhaps you have already started to experience adverse issues such as funds missing from your accounts or an increase in unwanted emails? The consequences of a data protection breach can be distressing and cause very real health issues.

Read on or get in touch with our team now to discuss what practical steps you can take to address these problems.

What happens if an employee breaches UK GDPR guide

What Happens If An Employee Breaches UK GDPR – Claims Guide

Select A Section

  1. When Could You Claim If An Employee Breaches The GDPR?
  2. What Should I Do If My Personal Data Is Breached?
  3. Data Protection For Employees – How A UK GDPR Breach Could Occur
  4. Data Protection Breach At Work – How To Prove A Claim?
  5. Compensation Payouts For a Data Protection Breach at Work
  6. Can I Start A No Win No Fee Claim After An Employee Breaches UK GDPR?

When Could You Claim If An Employee Breaches The UK GDPR?

A data controller decides why and how your personal information is used. They are often an organisation or company, such as an employer. A data processor then carries out the task of processing this personal data on behalf of the data controller. Some organisations play both roles.

Data controllers and data processors must comply with the DPA and UK GDPR. As we mentioned earlier, these two pieces of legislation protect the personal data of all UK residents.

You may be asking what happens if an employee breaches GDPR. You may have grounds to claim compensation for a breach of data in the workplace if:

  • A data controller or data processor failed to adhere to the DPA and UK GDPR.
  • Your personal information was involved in a breach due to their failings.
  • The breach of your personal information has caused you financial loss and/or mental harm.

You will need evidence to establish these points, whether you’ve been affected by a deliberate or accidental data breach at work. For more advice on your eligibility to claim if an employee breached the UK GDPR, you can contact our team of advisors for free.

What Should I Do If My Personal Data Is Breached?

Unfortunately, these ideal standards may not always be met. If there is a data security training problem or an IT security issue, there is room for a breach to occur.

Personal data breaches that affect the rights and freedoms of a data subject must be reported by the company to the ICO within 72-hours. If an employee has breached your details in a way that is likely to result in a heightened risk of adversely affecting that individuals’ rights and freedoms, the company must inform the data subject without delay.

Firstly, you should contact the company involved if you have data breach concerns. Furthermore, you can raise a concern with the ICO whenever you wish. But it’s important to make your complaint to the ICO no later than three months after the last meaningful contact with the company concerned as, after this date, they may consider the matter closed.

You can use a template on the ICO website to raise a concern with an organisation or complain directly to the ICO. As well as this, you can start a personal data breach case for compensation to recover your damages caused by the data breach.

Breach Of UK GDPR In The Workplace – Claim Time Limits

The time limit when starting a data breach claim following a breach of the UK GDPR in the workplace is typically six years from the date the breach occurred. However, you only have one year if the breach was caused by a public body.

We would recommend making a claim as soon as possible after suffering from the consequences of a data breach. The quicker you act, the more time you have to prepare your claim. Additionally, if you work with a data breach solicitor, they’ll have more time to gather evidence and cover all bases of your claim.

Get in touch at any time to be connected with an experienced lawyer from our panel. Alternatively, continue reading this article to find out more about data breach compensation you could be awarded if your claim is successfully settled.

Data Protection For Employees – How A UK GDPR Breach Could Occur

Now that we’ve discussed what happens if you breach the UK GDPR at work, it may be useful for you to understand how a data breach can occur.

A cyber incident may result in your personal data being breached. For example, if your workplace failed to update their cyber security measures, this could result in your personal data being accessed during a cyber attack.

Human error may also cause a breach of data protection for employees. Examples of human error data breaches that might be caused by an employee include:

  • Your colleague sends an email with your personal information to the wrong email address, meaning your data can be accessed without your permission.
  • An employee fails to properly destroy a paper document containing your personal information, meaning an unauthorised person could access it.
  • An employee might fail to use BCC on an email, resulting in recipients seeing each other’s email addresses and potentially their names.

Continue reading to find out what happens if an employee breaches the UK GDPR. You can also contact our advisors today to discuss your potential claim and receive free advice.

Data Protection Breach At Work – How To Prove A Claim?

What happens if an employee breaches GDPR? If you were harmed by a data breach caused by an employee’s breach of the GDPR, you can collect evidence of the breach and the harm you have suffered to help prove your claim.

Evidence of the breach can come in the form of:

  • Screenshots, or similar images: If your personal information had been circulated, or unlawfully altered by an employee, you can collect screenshots or photos of the breach to use as part of your claim.
  • Witnesses: if a person had revealed that an employee of an organisation had breached your information, collect their contact details as they could be able to provide supporting statements for your claim.
  • Emails: An organisation is required to inform you about harmful breaches involving your personal information. You can also contact an organisation regarding a breach they were responsible for. Admission of the breach in either scenario can act as evidence.

Evidence of the harm you have suffered can come in the form of:

  • Emails or Similar Correspondence: If the breach caused harm to you either financially or mentally, retain records of the correspondence you sent to organisations, such as the police, the bank, your place of work or the organisation responsible for the breach.
  • Financial Records: Maintain records of the financial losses you suffered because of the breach. This can be direct losses such as fraudulent theft, or indirect losses such as loss of income if you were unable to work because of the breach.
  • Medical Report: While accounts of your experience can act as evidence of your distress, a medical diagnosis of a psychological injury could strengthen your claim.

If an employee of an organisation had committed a data protection breach at their work, please speak to one of our advisers. They can give you advice on what you could do next.

Compensation Payouts For a Data Protection Breach at Work

You may be wondering, ‘what else happens if an employee breaches GDPR’. If an employee has breached the UK GDPR, and this has caused your personal data to be exposed to unauthorised parties and you to suffer harm, you could potentially claim compensation. You might be wondering how much you could receive in a successful data breach claim.

The two heads of the claim that could be included are material (financial) damages and non-material (psychological) damages caused by the breach. You would only be able to claim for a data protection breach at work if you have suffered one or both of these losses because a member of staff or your employer’s action or inaction led to a personal data breach.

Due to the outcome of two legal cases (Vidal-Hall and Others v. Google and Gulati and Ors v MGN), you are now able to claim for non-material losses due to a data breach without experiencing financial losses. Furthermore, the non-material damages are now assessed using the same criteria as in a personal injury case.

Due to this, the Judicial College Guidelines can give you a clearer idea of what you could receive for psychological injuries. These figures have been taken from the latest guidelines, published in 2022.

Type of Harm Level of severity Amount
Mental Harm Severe (a) £54,830 to £115,730
Mental Harm Moderately Severe (b) £19,070 to £54,830
Mental Harm Moderate (c) £5,860 to £19,070
Mental Harm Less Severe (d) £1,540 to £5,860
Anxiety Disorder Severe (a) £59,860 to £100,670
Anxiety Disorder Moderately Severe (b) £23,150 to £59,860
Anxiety Disorder Moderate (c) £8,180 to £23,150
Anxiety Disorder Less Severe (d) £3,950 to £8,180

Please remember that these figures are not guaranteed. This is because every claim is different and, should your claim be successful, the amount you receive can be based on many different factors.

Additionally, please bear in mind that you would need financial evidence, such as receipts and invoices, to claim for material losses. If you would like more information about the claims process, please contact us for free legal advice.

Can I Start A No Win No Fee Claim After An Employee Breaches The UK GDPR

Whilst you are pursuing your data breach complaint with the ICO, you can also seek legal advice. If you decide to engage the services of a data breach specialist, they could help you do this under a No Win No Fee agreement.

There are no fees to hiring a No Win No Fee lawyer. An amount that does not exceed 25% is due as their fee if the case wins. If it does not, there are no fees to pay your No Win No Fee data breach specialist.

Speak to our team now to see how a No Win No Fee agreement could help you fund legal representation. Or for advice on, an employee breached UK GDPR and caused a personal data breach, simply get in touch by:

  • Calling us to learn more about what happens after an employee breaches UK GDPR on 0800 408 7825
  • Or reach out by email at Public Interest Lawyers
  • Alternatively, you can use the ‘live support’ option at the bottom of this screen

What Happens After An Employee Breaches The UK GDPR – Further Resources

In conclusion, thank you for reading our article. For more advice if you were wondering what happens if an employee breaches UK GDPR, please refer to the resources below: