This guide will explain when employee data breach claims against the Ministry of Justice might be warranted. We’ll look at how information about you is protected by new laws like the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Furthermore, we’ll look at how the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can fine organisations for breaking these laws.
As we continue, we’ll show you that if you’re employed by the Ministry of Justice, and you can prove that you’ve suffered financial or psychological harm following an employer GDPR data breach, you could start legal action to claim compensation for your suffering. We’ll also show how much might be awarded.
If you have any questions during the course of our article, please use live chat to connect with us. Should you decide that you’d like to pursue compensation, you could use the Legal Expert banner below to connect with them. They can provide free legal advice and could appoint a specialist data breach solicitor to your case if it is strong enough. Their number is 0800 073 8804 if you’d prefer to call them directly.
Select A Section
- What Is An Employee GDPR Data Breach Claim Against The Ministry Of Justice?
- What Are GDPR Rules?
- Are Ministry Of Justice Employees Covered By The GDPR?
- What 7 GDPR Principles Should Employers Follow?
- Types Of Data Which Is Covered By GDPR Rules
- What Are Breaches Of The GDPR By Your Employer?
- How Might An Employer Breach GDPR Rules?
- Could An Employer Share Your Personal Data Without Your Permission?
- What Happens When A Government Employer Breaches The GDPR?
- What Is The Information Commissioner’s Office?
- Guidance From The ICO On Protecting Government Employees Data
- Can I Report The Ministry Of Justice If They Break The GDPR’s Rules?
- Calculating Damages For A GDPR Data Breach Claim Against The Ministry Of Justice?
- Making No Win No Fee GDPR Data Breach Claims Against The Ministry Of Justice
- Resources Where You Can Find Out More
- GDPR: FAQs For Government Employers
What Is An Employee GDPR Data Breach Claim Against The Ministry Of Justice?
Incidents that cause data breaches are usually associated with some form of security problem. As a result, information about you (the data subject) is changed, lost, accessed, destroyed or disclosed illegally.
When making employee data breach claims against the Ministry of Justice, you will need to show that:
- The breach took place, and data relating to you was involved.
- The breach was the fault of the defendant.
- As a result, you suffered psychologically, financially or both.
You should bear in mind that time limits apply to such claims. Generally, you’ll have 6 years to claim. This runs from the date you found out the breach had happened. However, where a claim is related to a human rights breach, you’ll only have 1 year.
Although you’ll often hear about privacy violations caused by criminal entities, you could also claim for accidental data breaches caused by human error. Whatever type of breach has occurred, if your finances or mental health have been impacted, you could be eligible to claim damages.
What Are GDPR Rules?
The GDPR and the DPA are some of the strongest laws regarding data privacy in the world. These pieces of legislation mean that organisations (or data controllers) must have a lawful reason before personal data is processed. This can sometimes be achieved by explaining to you that your data is going to be used and asking you to consent to it happening. That’s why you’ll often notice tick boxes on application forms.
Additionally, data controllers must make efforts to try to ensure any data they process is secure. By doing so, the number of breaches resulting from hackers, cybercriminals and others should reduce.
Importantly, while many breaches relate to computer security issues like ransomware, malware, keyloggers and phishing emails, non-electronic data is also protected by the rules of the GDPR. That includes hand-written or printed documents containing sensitive data.
Are Ministry Of Justice Employees Covered By The GDPR?
All companies and organisations that process personal information are obliged to comply with the GDPR. This applies to employers, including those representing government departments.
While you may not realise it, your employer will know a lot about you. While the data they collect is necessary (like your bank details), you probably wouldn’t want it being leaked. As your employment continues, information relating to sickness, disciplinary issues, training and performance could all be added to your records.
It is important to note that your information doesn’t need to have been hacked by cybercriminals for you to be eligible to claim. For instance, if a colleague overheard your manager talking about a disciplinary incident involving you, then a breach is likely to have happened. As a result, you could be eligible to claim for the stress that resulted.
What 7 GDPR Principles Should Employers Follow?
The GPDR’s rules are based on several data protection principles. They are:
- Fairness, transparency, lawfulness. Processing requires a lawful basis and the data subject needs to be informed when their data is to be used.
- Purpose limitation. It is illegal to use data in ways that were not specified when it was collected.
- Data minimisation. Data processors should only collect the absolute minimum amount of personal information.
- Accuracy. This means personal information should be kept accurate. If errors are spotted, the data should be deleted or corrected immediately.
- Storage limitation. While no specific time is defined, the GDPR only allows personal information to be stored while it is needed.
- Confidentiality and integrity (security). Processes should be used to keep personal data secure and confidential. For example, data could be anonymised or encrypted.
- Accountability. All data controllers have to take accountability for data protection and show how they comply with the new legislation.
Types Of Data Which Is Covered By GDPR Rules
The rules of the GDPR apply to any data that might be used to identify an individual. But what type of data does that include? Any of the following information held by your employer might help to identify you directly:
- Your name.
- Contact details.
- National Insurance number.
- Staff number.
Also, some information that may be stored by your employer might indirectly lead to your identification. Therefore, information relating to your ethnicity, disabilities, age, sexual orientation or marital status is also protected.
Any type of information, whether physical or electronic, is covered if it is:
- Accessed from a filing system.
- Processed electronically by computers.
- Found in accessible records.
- Stored by public bodies.
What Are Breaches Of The GDPR By Your Employer?
There are many ways an employer could cause an employee data breach. Some are accidental, but others are deliberate. Therefore, rather than trying to provide a full list, we have listed some example scenarios below. In the next section, we’ll provide details of a news article relating to real MoJ data breaches that are said to have occurred recently.
Here are a few of the ways an employer might cause a personal data breach:
- Where a computer is being used in a public area and unauthorised parties can read personal information.
- If communications intended for you are posted or emailed to the incorrect person.
- Where personal or sensitive documents are not securely shredded before being disposed of.
- When an unencrypted device containing sensitive information ends up in the wrong hands.
If you can provide evidence that you have suffered damage to your finances or mental health because of these or similar scenarios, you may be able to begin a claim. Get in touch via live chat and we’ll provide more details.
How Might An Employer Breach GDPR Rules?
In a news report online, it was identified that the MoJ had to tell the ICO about 17 serious data breaches in 2019.
The report said that in one case, the MoJ sent records to the incorrect prisoner. Here, 143 people were said to be affected. In another, the names and addresses of children involved in a domestic abuse case were disclosed illegally.
Additionally, the report detailed an incident where an unencrypted memory stick was stolen from a probation officer’s vehicle. It contained around 33,000 documents relating to a fraud trial.
This goes to show how new GDPR and DPA rules are starting to improve data privacy. Without this new legislation in place, these incidents would not have been reported. With the new system in place, organisations like the MoJ have the opportunity to make changes to stop them from happening again.
Could An Employer Share Your Personal Data Without Your Permission?
Data sharing is something that happens every day. It makes a lot of processes quicker and smoother. As per the GDPR’s rules, though, a lawful basis must exist for data to be shared. On many occasions, your employer will ask for your consent to share data about you. That will then give them legal grounds to continue. However, it is possible to share your data without your agreement in some instances. That’s when:
- Your employer is legally obliged to share your details. For example, they must send payroll data to HMRC by law.
- Your employer suspects your life, or somebody else’s, might be at risk. This is called vital interests and means they could share details about you with police or other emergency services.
If you can prove that your employer has shared your details without a legal reason to do so, and you have suffered mentally or financially as a result, you could claim compensation. Use our live chat service if you’d like to know more about claiming on this basis.
What Happens When A Government Employer Breaches The GDPR?
Companies are obliged to do several things if they find out about a potential data breach. Most firms will therefore have an action plan of what needs to happen following a security incident. It will include:
- Contacting the ICO to let them know what has happened.
- Beginning an immediate investigation into what has happened. They should attempt to ascertain what information that’s been exposed, when the breach happened and who it could affect.
- Telling data subjects what has happened if it could put them at risk.
To substantiate employee data breach claims against the Ministry of Justice, you’ll need evidence. Our advice here is that if you are sent an email or letter about a breach, you should keep it safe. Once you have proven that the breach occurred, you’ll need additional evidence to prove how it caused you to suffer financial or psychological harm.
What Is The Information Commissioner’s Office?
The ICO is an independent authority that promotes data privacy and police laws, including the DPA and the GDPR. They were founded in 1984. If they are made aware of data protection issues, the ICO is empowered to investigate. Where laws have been broken, they are able to issue fines to the company responsible. These fines should be proportionate, dissuasive and effective. Alternatively, they can tell the company to work differently when processing data.
However, even when wrongdoing is identified, the ICO isn’t able to compensate those affected. Instead, it is down to the individual data subject to take action themselves, and compensation will be paid by the data processor responsible for the breach.
If you are thinking of claiming, you may wish to discuss the case with Legal Expert. They can help with employee data breach claims against the Ministry of Justice. When you get in touch, they’ll review your case for free and explain your options.
Guidance From The ICO On Protecting Government Employees Data
The ICO provides a lot of documents to support employers. In the Employment Practices Guide, for instance, they show how employers need to use the GDPR in association with:
- The monitoring of staff.
- Sickness and health records.
- Recruitment procedures.
- Staff employment records.
Can I Report The Ministry Of Justice If They Break The GDPR’s Rules?
The ICO is there to help you if you would like a workplace data breach to be investigated. Before you get in touch, though, you must try to resolve the issue first through your employer. Therefore, you’ll need to begin with a formal complaint. If you aren’t happy with their response, you should escalate your complaint if possible. If 3 months pass without any meaningful response, you can ask the ICO to step in.
Again, if the ICO do investigate, it won’t mean you’ll be compensated. The ICO’s actions are limited to enforcement notices and financial penalties for the organisation if they are found to be at fault. The only way you could receive compensation is by beginning legal proceedings yourself.
Importantly, an ICO report is not required in all cases. If enough evidence exists to prove that the GDPR data breach took place, your claim could be settled without ICO intervention.
Calculating Damages For A GDPR Data Breach Claim Against The Ministry Of Justice?
As we’ve said already, if you suffer because of a personal data breach, you might be eligible to seek compensation. In general, there are two main elements to a claim:
- Material Damages. The part of your claim that is based on financial costs, expenses and losses.
- Non-material damages. In this part of the claim, you’ll seek compensation for any psychological issues that arise due to the breach.
When the hearing of Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc  was reviewed at the Court of Appeal, the Court explained that compensation might be payable if the claimant has suffered financial or psychological harm as a result of the data breach. Also, you are allowed to claim for these injuries whether you’ve lost money or not. The Court also directed that mental injuries could be valued with reference to personal injury cases.
We have added a compensation table below. To show how much could be awarded for the anxiety, distress and depression that could result from a breach, we’ve used figures from the Judicial College Guidelines. These outline guideline compensation brackets for a number of different injuries.
|Injury||Severity Level||Compensation Bracket||Further Guidance|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder||Severe||£56,180 to £94,470||Permanent symptoms of PTSD such as suicidal ideation, flashbacks, hyper-arousal and mood disorders.|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder||Moderately Severe||£21,730 to £56,180||While suffering will be significant and similar to above, professional support should improve the claimant's condition.|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder||Less Severe||Up to £7,680||Mild symptoms that resolve in full within a short period of time.|
|General Psychiatric Damage||Severe||£51,460 to £108,620||The claimant will struggle significantly. Specifically, with coping with life in general and managing relationships. Also it is unlikely that treatment will help and the claimant will therefore remain vulnerable. As a result very poor prognosis will be given.|
|General Psychiatric Damage||Moderately Severe||£17,900 to £51,460||There will be a more optimistic prognosis but the claimant will initially suffer as described above.|
|General Psychiatric Damage||Moderate||£5,500 to £17,900||In this category, a good level of recovery will have occurred meaning the prognosis will be good.|
You will usually be invited to a medical review as part of your claim. This is so an independent medical specialist can try to determine how much you have suffered and to prove that the injuries were inflicted by the breach. To achieve this, they will use your medical records and ask you questions about how the data breach has impacted you mentally.
Once they have completed the review, a report detailing any psychological damage will be prepared. It will also detail the medical expert’s prognosis of your recovery.
Making No Win No Fee Personal Data Breach Claims Against The Ministry Of Justice
Now that you’ve seen why employee data breach claims against the Ministry of Justice might be warranted, let’s discuss how you could fund legal representation. In many cases, you could claim on a No Win No Fee basis. This could remove the need to make an upfront payment but still allow you access to an experienced data breach solicitor.
This service may not be appropriate for every claim. This is because the solicitor needs to check that there is a reasonable chance of winning your claim first. After your claim has been properly reviewed, you’ll receive a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) if the solicitor is happy to continue. The CFA is your contract (and the formal title of a No Win No Fee agreement), and it explains that you won’t need to cover the cost of your solicitor’s work if compensation is not awarded. This means you won’t be asked to pay them anything upfront, as the claim is ongoing or in the event that it’s unsuccessful.
You will only need to cover your solicitor’s fees where a positive outcome to your case is achieved. If that happens, a success fee will be taken from your settlement amount. Details of this success fee are included within the CFA. It is a fixed percentage of any compensation awarded. By law, success fees have been limited to ensure you always get the majority of the settlement you’re awarded.
If you are interested in claiming on a No Win No Fee basis, why not ask Legal Expert to review your claim for free? They have an experienced team of data breach solicitors and could appoint one to your case if it is suitable. Contact them using the banner below to find out more.
Resources Where You Can Find Out More
We have almost completed our guide on employee data breach claims against the Ministry of Justice. Therefore, to provide additional support, we have added some more guides and links that might help you below.
Personal Information Charter – Government information about the ways in which the MoJ processes personal information.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – As this is one of the conditions listed in our compensation table, we’ve supplied more information on PTSD.
ICO Register – This is where you can search for details of over 900,000 registered data controllers.
Claiming Against Your Employer – Here, we examine when you could sue your employer if harmed by a workplace data breach.
HMRC Data Breaches – This guide shows the process employees of HMRC should follow if they wish to claim.
How To Prove Liability – A guide that explains methods you could use to help prove liability if your employer denies liability for an accident at work.
GDPR: FAQs For Government Employers
You have arrived at the final part of our guide about employee data breach claims against the Ministry of Justice. Therefore, we would like to take the opportunity to try and answer some common questions that arise.
How long does a personal data breach claim take?
The time taken to settle data breach claims varies from case to case. Where the data controller admits liability quickly, the claim could be processed in a matter of months. Where liability takes longer to prove, the claim could take longer.
What can I do if my data has been breached?
If you can prove that you’ve suffered financial or psychological harm following a GDPR data breach, you could complain to the responsible party. If you’re not happy with how they’ve dealt with the issue, you could ask the ICO to investigate. Separately, you could seek damages from the responsible party if you have suffered mental or financial harm as a result of the breach.
Does the ICO have to issue a fine for me to claim?
If the ICO fines an organisation following a GDPR data breach, it will also write a report explaining what has happened. While this report might be useful, it is not a mandatory requirement when seeking damages. Therefore, you could still claim compensation without an ICO investigation report.
How do I start a claim?
To begin a compensation claim because you’ve suffered due to a personal data breach, you will need to collate any evidence that can support your claim. This could include your medical records to show how you’ve suffered psychologically, plus financial records to show any losses. Then you may wish to contact a specialist data breach lawyer to see if your claim can proceed.
Thank you for reading our guide on employee data breach claims against the Ministry of Justice.