Accidental Data Breach In A Workplace Examples – Can I Claim?

By Stephen Bishop. Last updated 14th July 2023. In this guide, we will explain how accidental workplace data breaches can result in compensation payouts.

Accidental workplace data breaches

Accidental workplace data breaches claims guide

You may be wondering what the definition of a personal data breach is. We will discuss this, along with what personal data is.

We also discuss how the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) work together to protect the personal data of UK residents. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) enforces this legislation and has the ability to fine organisations that do not comply.

Finally, we go on to discuss how to start a personal data breach claim with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel. Our team of advisors can offer a free consultation, in which they will evaluate your claim, provide free legal advice, and may be able to connect you with a solicitor from our panel.

Contact us today to learn more:

Select A Section

  1. What Are Accidental Workplace Data Breaches?
  2. What Data Do Employers Have Access To?
  3. How Often Is Workplace Data Breached?
  4. Examples Of How Data Breaches Could Happen In A Workplace
  5. What Could You Claim For Accidental Workplace Data Breaches?
  6. Can You Claim For Accidental Workplace Data Breaches With A No Win No Fee Solicitor?

What Are Accidental Workplace Data Breaches?

According to the ICO, a personal data breach occurs when a security incident compromises your personal data’s confidentiality, integrity, or availability. This can happen deliberately, for example, through a cyberattack or accidentally. However, in order to claim for a personal data breach, your case must comply with the criteria set out by UK GDPR:

  • The breach must happen due to the organisation’s failings
  • You must suffer harm as a result
  • The breach must include your personal data

Personal data is an umbrella term for information that can identify you. For example, this can range from your full name to your postcode. Special category data is a type of personal data that needs extra protection under data protection law. Your employer may have access to both personal data and special category data and, as such, must ensure that they comply with data protection law.

A personal data breach can leave you vulnerable to fraud or identity theft if your financial information has been compromised. You could also suffer psychological injuries such as emotional distress as a result of a data breach.  

To learn more about making a claim for accident workplace data breaches, contact our advisors.

 What Data Do Employers Have Access To?

Employers may require a range of personal data. For example, the types of information that an employer could have access to can include your:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Home address
  • Email address
  • Postcode
  • National Insurance number
  • Emergency contact details 

Your employer may also store special category data, including your:

  • Racial or ethnic origin
  • Sexuality
  • Religious or philosophical leanings
  • Political beliefs
  • Trade union membership
  • Health data

If your employer has breached the Data Protection Act or UK GDPR, contact our advisors today to find out what steps you can take.

How Often Is Workplace Data Breached?

The ICO collects and publishes data security incident trends for each quarter of the financial year. According to these statistics, 2,172 incidents were reported across all sectors and industries in Q4 of the 2021/22 financial year.

Of this number, 1,697 were non-cyber incidents, and 476 were cyber-related incidents. In this same quarter, across all sectors, personal data being emailed to the incorrect recipient was the most common cause of reported data security incidents.

Our advisors can provide free legal advice and can tell you if you could be eligible to claim. Get in touch today to learn more through the information at the top of the screen.

Examples Of How Data Breaches Could Happen In A Workplace

Data breaches can happen in a variety of ways. However, in order to make a claim for accidental workplace data breaches, the breach must occur as a result of the organisation’s failings. For example:

  • Misdelivery: For example, your employer may send an email that contains personal data such as your disciplinary information to the wrong email address. This allows unauthorised parties access to your personal data. This is an example of human error in data breach claims.
  • Failure to use BCC: The blind carbon-copy feature allows batch emails to be sent while anonymising the email addresses of the recipients. Your employer may send a batch email out to staff who have been struggling with their mental health, advertising a new wellness workshop. If your employer fails to use the BCC feature, this may result in the email addresses of fellow employees being exposed.
  • Verbal disclosure: One example of verbal disclosure could be if a human resources employee reads a diversity form that states your sexuality and then verbally discloses this to an unauthorised third party, such as a colleague.

Contact our advisors today to learn more about how a personal data breach can occur in the workplace. 

Accidental Data Breach At Work – How Long Do I Have To Claim?

If you have valid grounds to claim for an accidental data breach at work, you need to ensure that you start your case in time. There is usually a time limit applied to starting a data breach claim.

How much time there is to start your case can depend on, for example, the type of organisation you intend to claim against. You’ll usually need to start your claim within one year if it’s against a public body. Alternatively, you will have six years to start legal proceedings.

You can get in touch with our advisors online or on the phone today if you need more advice on making a data breach claim.

What Could You Claim For Accidental Workplace Data Breaches?

To compensate for the financial losses that you might have suffered due to a data breach, you may receive material damage. For example, if your bank details are compromised, this could lead to illegal charges on your credit card or damage to your credit score.

Non-material damage provides compensation for psychological injuries or illnesses. For example, you may experience stress, depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a personal data breach.

The mental health compensation calculator table below uses figures provided by the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to provide example compensation amounts for non-material damage. The JCG is a list of injuries and illnesses, both psychological and physical, with corresponding guideline compensation amounts. These help legal professionals calculate settlement amounts in personal data breach and personal injury claims.

Mental Health InjuriesCompensation BracketsDescription
Mental Harm: Severe£54,830 to £115,730Permanent, significant effects on the ability to cope with daily life.
Mental Harm: Moderately Severe£19,070 to £54,830Similar issues to the above, though the prognosis is better.
Mental Harm: Moderate£5,860 to £19,070A good prognosis reflects the improvement of symptoms.
Mental Harm: Less Severe£1,540 to £5,860Recovery has been made, with minor effects remaining.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Severe£59,860 to £100,670Severe issues in coping and no remaining function at the pre-trauma level.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Moderately Severe£23,150 to £59,860Some recovery is possible through professional treatment, prompting a slightly better prognosis than above.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Moderate £8,180 to £23,150A large recovery is made, with any continuing symptoms being non-disabling.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Less Severe£3,950 to £8,180Full recovery within 1-2 years, with only minor symptoms that remain.

These amounts are guidelines only. For a free consultation and evaluation of your accidental workplace data breaches claim, contact our team today.

Can You Claim For Accidental Workplace Data Breaches With A No Win No Fee Solicitor?

Our panel of No Win No Fee solicitors can help you start your claim with a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). Usually, there are no upfront costs or ongoing fees to pay to your solicitor with a CFA. You only pay a success fee, which is taken as a percentage of your compensation, if you succeed. If your claim does not succeed, then you do not pay this fee.

Contact us today for more information on how you can make a claim for accidental workplace data breaches. Our advisors can evaluate your claim, and if they find it to be viable, they can connect you with a solicitor from our panel.

To learn more, get in touch:

Related Data Breach Articles

For more helpful data breach articles:

Or, for further resources:

Contact our team of advisors today for more information on accidental workplace data breaches.