Data Leaks – pay attention
The High Court has held a major retailer, Morrison’s, vicariously liable for a data leak by an unhappy employee. This case emphasises the importance of being ready for the new General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) that will come into force in May 2018.
In 2014, Morrisons discovered that a file containing the details of nearly 100,000 employees had been posted to a file sharing website. Andrew Skelton, a senior auditor, held a grudge against the company as a result of a previous disciplinary issue and leaked the payroll details online and sent it to newspapers.
Mr Skelton was jailed for 8 years but then Morrisons were held to be vicariously liable for his actions. The judge found that Morrisons were not at fault for the way in which it protected data but nevertheless found the company responsible for Mr Skelton’s actions.
The decision is being appealed and if the appeal fails, there will then be a second trial to determine the level of compensation that is appropriate.
Morrisons have said that they spent almost £2million handling the case.
How does this affect employers?
This case illustrates a trend for group claims by individuals affected by a data breach. This is likely to increase once the GDPR come into effect. Under the new regime, there will be a tight timescale to report any breaches of 72 hours – it will often be impossible to investigate any such breach in such a tight timescale.
What we can do for you? We can discuss with you the impact of the GDPR on your organisation and steps you need to take to ensure compliance.
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