How Much Compensation For A Data Breach Claim If Your Employer Lost Your Documents?

Has your personal data and identity been exposed in an employer data breach? Do you want to know if you could make a data breach claim if your employer has lost your documents? If you have been affected emotionally or financially due to a personal data breach, you could be entitled to compensation in a data breach claim. We explore what emotional or financial effects of a data breach you could be compensated for if your data breach claim succeeds. 

Then, we establish what makes you eligible to begin making a data breach claim against your employer by looking at what data protection laws are put in place. Plus, what type of personal data may have been exposed if your workplace documents got lost.

Furthermore, we look at what evidence could be useful in proving your case and how a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel of data breach experts could offer to represent you. 

Files possibly in a filing cabinet titled with words such as data and confidentiality.

By reading this guide, you will discover your legal rights as an employee, how to support your case, and the steps to follow next to potentially claim compensation. Our lines are available 24/7, and we can give you advice as well as a free assessment of your case. From this, you could be connected to our panel of solicitors who can provide free legal advice and help you throughout the claims process. Talk to us today:

Select A Section

  1. How Much Compensation For A Data Breach Claim If Your Employer Lost Your Documents?
  2. Eligibility For A Data Breach Claim If Your Employer Lost Your Documents
  3. What Documents Are Included In An Employee File?
  4. Evidence Needed For A Data Breach Claim If Your Employer Lost Your Documents
  5. How Do I Start The No Win No Fee Process?
  6. Discover More About Claiming Where An Employer Lost Your Documents

How Much Compensation For A Data Breach Claim If Your Employer Lost Your Documents?

There are two types of damage in which you could be awarded compensation for in successful data breach claims. These types of damage are material and non-material. You do not need to have suffered both types of damage to receive data breach compensation. 

Non-material damage is the psychiatric harm that has resulted from having your data protection breached. For example, if you have become stressed or developed a mental health condition, such as, anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or depression. 

To evaluate the worth of non-material damage when being awarded compensation, the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) may be referred to along with a report from a medical assessment you may be invited to as part of the claiming process.

There are guideline compensation awards for different severities of psychiatric harm within the JCG. 

Compensation Table

We have included from the JCG (apart from the first value, which is not from the JCG) different guideline compensation values and their accompanying type of psychiatric harm. This is for your guidance only to understand what types of non-material damage you could be compensated for. 

IllnessSeverityGuideline compensation valuesNotes
Extremely serious mental health impacts with substantial financial loss. Very SeriousUp to £250,000+All aspects of life are seriously impacted causing financial losses like lost earnings.
Psychiatric damageSevere (a)£54,830 to £115,730A very poor prognosis with marked problems in relation to different areas of life, such as coping with work and maintaining friendships.
Moderately severe (b)£19,070 to £54,830Significant problems in relation to different areas of life but with a more optimistic prognosis.
Moderate (c)£5,860 to £19,070Problems in relation to different areas of life but with a good prognosis and marked improvement.
Less severe (d)£1,540 to £5,860The length of time that daily activities and sleep are affected is considered for this award.
Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderSevere (a)£59,860 to £100,670Every aspect of the person's life is badly affected. Including not being able to work or function at anything near the pre-trauma level.
Moderately severe (b)£23,150 to £59,860Professional help will lead to some recovery and a better prognosis. But the effects will still likely cause significant disability lasting for the foreseeable future.
Moderate (c)£8,180 to £23,150Continuing effects aren't grossly disabling since the person will have largely recovered.
Less severe (d)£3,950 to £8,180A virtual full recovery will be made within 1-2 years.

Material Damage

Material damage is the financial harm you have experienced from having your data protection breached. For example, you could lose wages if the impacts of your non-material damage have made you need time off work. 

It is required to provide evidence of any financial loss you have experienced due to a personal data breach. Thus, it’s important to keep hold of documents like payslips and bank statements. 

We can tell you more about compensation for a data breach claim if your employer lost your documents in a free no obligation assessment of your case. 

Eligibility For A Data Breach Claim If Your Employer Lost Your Documents

Two laws are established to ensure data protection. They outline what data controllers and processors must do by law to ensure personal data is safe when it is being processed, stored, and handled. These laws are the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018), which make up data protection legislation. 

Data controllers, who are most likely an organisation i.e. your employer, decide how and why your personal data should be processed. They can also be responsible for processing your personal data. However, they can choose to assign this task to an external party to process your personal data for them. The data controller, in this case, will be the organisation that you work for. 

Failure to follow the UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act is known as wrongful conduct. Some cases of wrongful conduct can lead to personal data breaches. According to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which is a UK independent body set up to uphold rights about information, a personal data breach is a security incident that compromises the confidentiality, availability, or integrity of your personal data. A personal data breach can result from either accidental or intentional causes. 

Thus, Article 82 of the UK GDPR establishes the criteria you must meet for your data breach claim to be eligible:

  • There was a failure to follow the obligations set out in data protection law on either the data controller’s or processor’s behalf. 
  • As a result of their failings, there was a data protection breach of your personal information. 
  • You suffered material or non-material damage because of this breach. 

Is There A Time Limit On Workplace Data Breach Claims?

Yes, there is a time limit to data breach claims. Suppose you wish to begin a data breach at work claim after your employer lost your documents, in that case, you typically have 6 years to begin the claims process. If you are claiming against a public body or if a breach of your human rights is involved, however, you have 1 year to begin the claims process. 

Valid claims that are not started within this limitation period will no longer be valid. So, getting in touch with us as soon as you can about your potential personal data breach claim is vital. 

the time limitations in data breach claims

What Documents Are Included In An Employee File?

Workplace companies can process personal data in digital (hard drives, memory sticks) and physical (paper files) formats about employees. Personal data is information about your identity, such as email address, full name, and date of birth.

Organisations might also process special category data about employees, which is personal data that needs extra protection since the information is more sensitive. Some types of special category data include trade union membership information (which is often found on employee records), and your racial or ethnic origin. 

So, here are some ways your employer could lose employee work documents because of wrongful conduct:

  • Because of insufficient cyber security measures, hackers get access to your employee personnel file in a cyber attack and delete the information from the hard drive. Your workplace’s Human Resources (HR) department keeps an electronic employee personnel file that contains information like your name, phone number, and data concerning your health and any disabilities. 
  • Your employer fails to securely lock your work contracts that contain your identity documents away securely. They are stolen by an unknown member of staff due to their easy access. This is known as a human error data breach. 

Documents and records which your employer might have on employees are:

  • Employment applications
  • C.V
  • Reference details and checks
  • Disciplinary action documents
  • Performance documents
  • Payroll history
  • Tax documents/ tax codes
  • Probation records
  • DBS checks
  • Dismissal records

a document titled personal data with the words name and address and a pen close by.

To find out if you could make a data breach claim if your employer lost your documents at work, please give our advisory team a call today they can tell you if you have a valid employer data breach claim.

Evidence Needed For A Data Breach Claim If Your Employer Lost Your Documents

You will need evidence to prove that your employer lost your documents due to wrongful conduct and that your personal data was compromised because of this. You will also need to prove the extent of the emotional and financial effects that have resulted from this breach of your personal data. 

These are the types of proof which you can provide:

  • If a data breach has risked your rights and freedom, the organisation has a responsibility to let you know about the breach with no undue delay. They might send you a notification letter informing you when and what personal data was breached. You should keep hold of this letter. The organisation also has a responsibility to let the ICO know of a data breach within 72 hours of them knowing a breach occurred.
  • If you have any, also keep hold of alternative letters or emails of correspondence between you and the organisation discussing the details of the breach. 
  • Should you suspect a data breach yourself, you can ask the organisation if one has occurred. If you are unsatisfied with the correspondence from the data controller, you can report your data breach to the ICO and file a complaint. You should contact the ICO within 3 months from the last correspondence with the data controller. The ICO can investigate your case. You can use their findings from the investigation as evidence. 
  • Evidence of the financial losses caused by the breach, such as payslips and bank statements. 
  • Evidence of the emotional impacts caused by the breach, such as a copy of your medical report. 

If your case is taken on by a specialist data protection lawyer from our panel, they can help you gather the evidence you need. Talk to us to find out whether you can receive this legal support and to ask us any data breach claim questions

How Do I Start The No Win No Fee Process?

Call our advisors today and have your case assessed by the data breach team. If they find that you have good grounds to make a data breach claim if your employer lost your documents, they could connect you to a specialist No Win No Fee solicitor. If you do have a valid case, you could be offered to be represented through a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This is the type of No Win No Fee basis under which data breach solicitors from our panel work.

There are no upfront or ongoing charges for you as the claimant for the work that your solicitor does when being represented under a CFA. No fees will also need to be paid if your claim is not successful. 

Instead, if your claim is successful, there will be a success fee taken out of your compensation. The success fee is a percentage, capped by law, of what you win. The cap by law ensures that you still receive the majority of your compensation. 

image of a data breach lawyer sitting at desk with gavel and scales representing an Employer Lost Your Documents case.

Contact Us

So, speak to us if your employer lost your documents and you need advice. Our panel of solicitors are specialists and have been representing data breach claimants for years. For a chance of accessing their services, either:

Discover More About Claiming Where An Employer Lost Your Documents

You can read more information regarding data breach claims using the resources below.

Here are a few of our guides on Legal Helpline:

Extra links:

  • Gov.UK – an HMRC PAYE manual about the necessary action that should be taken when an employee record is lost or destroyed.
  • NHS – how to access mental health services and get support.
  • National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – a risk management guide to cyber security.

Call our advisors now and they will assess the merits of your data breach claim if your employer lost your documents. Please feel free to ask us any other questions or for more advice about data protection claims.