Employee Data Breach Claims Against The DfT

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Rights To Data Protection In The Workplace

This guide about employee data breach claims against the DfT aims to give information to help.

The Department for Transport (DfT) is a government department. The DfT is responsible for helping local authorities with their road network in England. Moreover, the DfT is also responsible for rail infrastructure in England and Wales.

When collecting or processing personal data, the Dft has to abide by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This EU legislation was enshrined in UK law through the Data Protection Act 2018.

Have you been affected financially or mentally by a government data protection breach? Our advisors give free legal advice about the steps you could take if you’ve experienced a data protection breach by your employer. They can also help if you were not an employee but suffered due to a personal data breach.

To seek help from an advisor, please contact our support service. Or use Live Support to ask us a question directly.

However, if you are ready to claim data breach compensation, we can help. Click the banner that’s below to contact Legal Expert.

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What Are Employee Data Breach Claims Against The DfT?

The DfT is an employer in the UK. As an employer, they may have to process personal information regularly. Therefore, under the GDPR, they have a duty of care towards the personal data they collect from their employees. So, if DfT employees experience a personal data breach by their employer, they have the right to claim compensation.

However, in order to do so, they’d need to prove that they suffered financial loss or psychological harm, or both.

Please be aware that there is a six-year time limit for starting data breach claims. This begins from when you gained knowledge of the personal data breach. However, there is a one-year time limit if the data breach involved a human rights violation.

Do you hold evidence of a justifiable data breach compensation claim? Then contact Legal Expert by clicking on the banner placed throughout this guide.

What Is The GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation is EU data protection legislation. The purpose of the GDPR is to protect the public’s data privacy and data security rights. The Data Protection Act 2018 enacts the GDPR into the laws of the United Kingdom.

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Under the General Data Protection Regulation, organisations have a duty of care to protect the personal information they collect from the public. This includes data that an organisation has collected from its employees.

In order to protect personal data, the organisation could have an adequate cybersecurity system in place. What’s more, they could instruct their staff to protect personal data. This could help prevent data breaches from occurring due to human error.

Under the GDPR, you have the right to claim compensation if an organisation breaks your personal data privacy and you suffer psychologically or financially as a result. For example, you can claim employer data breach compensation if your employer breached your personal data privacy.

How The GDPR Protects Department For Transport Employees

The GDPR refers to individuals whose data is collected by an organisation as “data subjects”. These individuals can be employees, customers, research subjects, or anyone else the organisation has a relationship with. The Department for Transport has to abide by the rules of the General Data Protection Regulation. Therefore the GDPR protects Department for Transport employees’ personal information.

When the DfT collects personal data from their employees, they should do the following to comply with the GDPR:

  • Firstly, they should only get personal data from employees if they have given them permission to do so. The employee may have to tick a box or give verbal consent to say they consent to have their data collected.
  • Secondly, they should explain why the data is being collected. And consequently, they cannot use the personal data for another purpose. (However, there are certain circumstances where they can share your data without your consent.)
  • What’s more, they should keep personal information up to date where possible. For example, if an employee advises the employer that they’ve changed address, the DfT should update their employee records.

Have you experienced a breach of the Data Protection Act by your employer? Then you may be eligible to claim compensation if you suffered mental harm or financial loss (or both). Continue reading this guide to learn more.

The Main Data Protection Principles

There are 7 core principles of the General Data Protection Regulation. Let’s look at what the core principles of the GDPR are and how they can be applied:

  1. Accountability. When the Information Commissioner’s Office asks employers that process personal data to prove that they have complied with the GDPR, they should be able to provide evidence.
  2. Integrity and confidentiality (security). They should have adequate security systems in place to protect the personal data they collect. To protect the privacy of data subjects, anonymisation techniques could be used.
  3. Storage limitation. They should delete personal data that they no longer need.
  4. Data minimisation. They should not collect data that they don’t need.
  5. Purpose limitation. Employers should only use personal data for the purpose it was collected for, unless there is a lawful exception.
  6. Lawfulness, fairness and transparency. When processing data, the DfT should inform data subjects of how their personal data will be used. What’s more, they should process this data lawfully.
  7. Accuracy. They should keep the personal data they collect up to date.

What Normal And Special Categories Of Data Does The GDPR Protect?

Personal data is defined as information that can identify (or be used with other information to identify) a specific individual. The General Data Protection Regulation protects all types of personal data that an organisation may collect.

An organisation may collect information that identifies an individual such as their name, date of birth and contact details.

Furthermore, an organisation may collect information about their employees’ protected characteristics, such as their race and gender. These are known as special categories.

An organisation may also collect job-specific information about its employees. This includes the employee’s job title, place of work, performance reviews and salary information.

What are the consequences of a data protection breach by an employer? The employee may be targeted by fraudsters and suffer a financial loss as a result. A data breach can also be a gross violation of an employee’s privacy, which can lead to the employee suffering emotional distress.

This guide aims to give information about employee data breach claims against the DfT to help you. If you have unanswered questions, reach out.

Breaches Of GDPR Rules By An Employer

What is a personal data breach by your employer? A data breach begins with a security incident. This leads to personal information being disclosed, lost, altered, accessed or destroyed without authorisation or unlawfully. A potential employee data breach at the Department for Transport would involve personal data belonging to its employees.

A data breach can happen if employee data is, for example:

  • Lost or stolen.
  • Encrypted or altered without authorisation.
  • Leaked or exposed without authorisation.

Personal data breaches can be accidental or deliberate. For example, they might happen due to human error or due to cybercriminal activity.

What Could My Employer Have Done To Breach The GDPR?

How could a data breach at the Department for Transport happen?

Unfortunately, cybercriminals or people with malicious intentions are sometimes responsible for personal data breaches. Insider threat is one example. This is when an individual that has affiliations with the organisation intentionally leaks personal data to the public or a third party. They may do so for financial gain or for other reasons. Employers could provide the appropriate security measures and staff training to avoid this.

Employers could also fall victim to a cyber attack. For example, criminals may carry out a ransomware attack. Ransomware is a type of malware that can be used to steal or block an organisation’s access to personal information unless a ransom is paid. Employers could prevent this by providing good security.

Unfortunately, a breach of an employee’s personal data privacy can be caused by human error. For example, a letter containing an employee’s personal information may be sent to the wrong address. If the recipient isn’t authorised to access this information but they do anyway, it would be a data breach. This is because the employee’s data will be shared with an unauthorised third party.

Similarly, it could be considered a data breach if an employer publishes a document containing personal information online. That is, providing the data subjects haven’t consented to it.

This guide on the potentialities of data breach claims against the DfT aims to give you answers. To discuss data breach compensation, get in touch.

Can Your Employer Share Your Data Without Your Consent?

Employers should not share their employees’ personal data without their consent. There are lawful exceptions to this rule.

  • Firstly when vital interests are at stake. This means that the employer shares an employee’s personal data because they believe an employee’s life is at risk. For example, a manager might share personal information with a paramedic about an employee who has collapsed at work.
  • Secondly, if an employer has a legal obligation to share personal data, they can do so without the employee’s consent. For example, the employer can share information about the employee’s salary with HMRC.
  • Thirdly, if the employer has a contract that can only be fulfilled if they use personal information, they can do so.
  • If the employer has to perform a public task that’s in the public interest, they can process personal data without consent.
  • They may also process data for legitimate interests in relation to business.

If your employer shared your personal information without consent or unlawfully, they might have committed a data breach.

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Dealing with Breaches Of Security And GDPR

In this section of our guide exploring employee data breach claims against the DfT, we look at what happens after data breaches occur.

Employers should avoid data security breaches at all costs. However, if a data breach does take place, the employer should take action.

  • Firstly, they could inform the Information Commissioner’s Office that the data breach has taken place. They would only have to action this if it risks the freedoms and rights of data subjects. They would have 72 hours to inform the ICO.
  • Secondly, if data subjects’ freedoms  and rights are impacted, they should be sent notifications from the employer.
  • And finally, the employer should conduct its own internal investigation, regardless of whether rights and freedoms are at risk or not. The investigation should determine how the data breach took place and, consequently, what actions the employer should take.

What Is The ICO?

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the public body that upholds personal data security as well as data privacy rights. The ICO can enforce data protection laws in the UK such as the Data Protection Act 2018.

How does the ICO enforce the GDPR?

The Information Commissioner’s Office can issue fines to organisations that breach the GDPR. They can also investigate and work with organisations to make changes to their data protection processes.

Should you report a breach of the Data Protection Act by your employer to the ICO?

If you believe that there has been an employee information data breach at your place of work, we recommend that you first make a formal complaint to your employer. If you are dissatisfied with the reply you get, you can escalate your complaint. After you have exhausted all channels of communication, you could report your concerns via the ICO.

Nevertheless, the ICO recommends you complain to them within three months of the final response from your employer. If you contact them after this time period, it could affect what action they take.

Remember, you don’t need to complain to the ICO in order to make a data breach compensation claim.

Guidelines On Managing Employee Data Privacy

The GDPR states that employers that process personal information should uphold the data protection rights of its employees. They should also protect the personal data of other data subjects. This could include:

  • Job applicants (whether successful or not)
  • Full time, permanent staff
  • Part-time, permanent staff
  • Contract workers
  • Agency workers
  • Casual workers
  • People taking part in internships.

Have you been affected financially or psychologically by a UK government data protection breach? Then you may be eligible to claim compensation. Contact us today for free legal advice about claiming compensation.

Calculate Compensation For Employee Data Breach Claims Against The DfT

What happens if there is evidence to back up valid employee data breach claims against the DfT? You may be wondering if you are eligible to claim compensation. If you are able to, it would be for financial loss, mental harm or both.

In the case of Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc [2015],  the Court of Appeal stated that you are eligible to claim compensation for the psychological fallout of a data breach under the following circumstances:

  • That you have suffered emotional distress as a result of the personal data breach.
  • The compensation is calculated as it would be under personal injury law.

Below, we have a compensation table that you could use to estimate compensation for non-material damages. This is compensation for any psychological injuries or emotional distress that you have suffered.

The table does not include any material damages you could claim. Material damages are compensation to reimburse you for any financial losses you have experienced because of the data breach.

Psychological Injury TypeLevelCompensationComments On The Injury
Psychiatric InjurySevere£51,460 to £108,620Psychiatric injury compensation involves the following: the person's ability to continue with their relationships, education or life as before.

Patients at this level may have a poor outlook regarding recovery.
Psychiatric InjuryModerately Severe£17,900 to £51,460This claimant should have a better future outlook.
Psychiatric InjuryModerate£5,500 to £17,900Whilst still experiencing issues in the same areas of life, the claimant should have a better prospect of recovery than the above.
Psychiatric InjuryLess SevereUp to £5,500Any compensation awarded may be based on the duration of symptoms and the severity of their effects.
Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderSevere£56,180 to £94,470The person affected by PTSD could suffer long-term or permanent symptoms and effects.
Post-Traumatic Stress DisorderModerately Severe£21,730 to £56,180Claimants with moderately severe degrees of PTSD should have better prognosis for recovery.

The compensation amounts in the table above are based on guidelines from the Judicial College. These guidelines may be used by solicitors to help them when valuing injuries.

The figures above should be a good indication of what amount of compensation you could claim. However, for a personalised quote, reach out to us. An advisor can estimate how much you could claim accurately.

Make A No Win No Fee Employee Data Breach Claim Against The DfT

You may have heard the term No Win No Fee. A No Win No Fee agreement is a method of funding the services of a solicitor. It means that you will pay a success fee if you win your data breach claim. However, if your claim is not successful, you will not have to pay any solicitor fees.

Why Do Some People Prefer To Make A No Win No Fee Claim?

  • In the unlikely outcome that you do not win your claim, you will not have to pay solicitor fees.
  • For many, it is the more affordable option when funding a solicitor. There is not an upfront legal fee to pay.
  • Instead, the success fee is deducted from the employer data breach compensation payout. The success fee’s legally capped to a smaller percentage.

Do you wish to know more about data protection governance and No Win No Fee? Or do you need free legal advice about claiming compensation for a breach of your personal data privacy? Then please contact us. Alternatively, click on the banner below.

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Related Services

We hope you have found this guide regarding the concept of employee data breach claims against the DfT helpful. You may also be interested in these guides about your employee rights in the UK:

Employee Data Breach Claims Against Your Employer

A Guide: Apprenticeship

Looking For A New Career

External Information

Data Protection Time Limits: An ICO guide on how long companies have to respond to a data protection rights request.

Be Data-Aware: A guide to how organisations may use your personal data, from the ICO.

An ICO guide on your right to limit how organisations use your data.

FAQs On Employee Data Protection Rights

We will now answer some frequently asked questions about protecting employee data.

How long does the GDPR allow employee data to be kept?

The GDPR requires employers to not keep personal data when they no longer have a use for it.

Is salary information protected by data privacy laws?

Salary information is personal data. Organisations should keep employees’ salary information private. However, there may sometimes be a lawful basis for sharing information about employees’ salaries, such as providing salary information to HMRC.

How long does HR have to keep employee records?

HR departments should delete employee records when they’re no longer of use in regards to the reason the personal information was collected in the first place.

What is data protection in the workplace?

Data protection in the workplace involves the safeguarding of the employees’ data. Employers can protect employees’ data by adhering to data protection laws.

Thank you for reading our guide to employee data breach claims against the DfT.

Guide by CHE

Edited by VIC