If you suffer damage to your mental health or finances due to data protection failures, you could be compensated. This guide will explain when employee data breach claims against Vodafone might be justified. Additionally, we’ll explain the claims process and how much you could receive in compensation.
If you work for Vodafone and you’re worried that your personal information has been leaked by your employer, then this guide could prove useful. We are going to show how the General Data Protection Regulation (GPDR) protects the type of information you give to your employer.
Also, we’ll look at what the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is and the action it can take following data breaches.
Explaining Employee Data Protection Rights
In May 2018, the GDPR became part of UK law when the Data Protection Act 2018 was enacted. Data safety is now a high priority and these laws aim to reduce the number of data breaches.
You might not realise it, but the leaking of personal data can cause serious suffering like depression, anxiety and distress. As a result, you could be eligible to claim for this suffering. Furthermore, you could also be compensated for any monetary losses that result from a breach as well.
We have specialist advisors who can answer any questions about claims in our live chat service. If you believe you should be compensated, you may wish to connect with Legal Expert via their banner. They have a team of data breach solicitors who may be able to help. To contact them on the phone, you can call 0800 073 8804.
Select A Section
- What Is An Employee Data Breach Claim Against Vodafone?
- What Is The GDPR?
- Do Data Protection Rules Apply To Vodafone Employees?
- What Are The GDPR Protection Principles?
- What Categories Of Data Are Protected By The GDPR?
- Examples Of Data Breaches Of Employers
- What Could My Employer Have Done To Breach The GDPR?
- When Is Consent Necessary Before Sharing Employment Data?
- What Are The Consequences Of Breaching The GDPR?
- What Is The Information Commissioner’s Office?
- Guidelines On Protecting Employment Data And Information
- When And How To Report A GDPR Breach
- Employee Data Breach Claims Against Vodafone Compensation Calculator
- Making A No Win No Fee Employee Data Breach Claim Against Vodafone
- Resources And Services
- Employment Data Breach Claim FAQs
What Is An Employee Data Breach Claim Against Vodafone?
Before looking at why employee data breach claims against Vodafone could be possible, let’s look at some GDPR terms:
- A data subject. The individual who is going to provide their personal data to an organisation.
- The data controller. A company that would like to process information relating to a data subject.
- The data processor. The organisation that will process data on behalf of the data controller. For example, an outsourced payroll provider could manage wage payments on behalf of an employer.
- Data processing. Actions involving personal data such as collection, deletion, storage or dissemination.
In terms of the GDPR, data breaches are caused by security problems. As a result, information that relates to a data subject could be lost, unlawfully disclosed, destroyed, changed or accessed illegally.
To make a successful employee data breach claim, it will need to be proven that:
- Data relating to you was exposed in a data breach involving your employer.
- The breach was the fault of your employer.
- Due to that data breach, you suffered financial losses or damage to your mental health.
While you will often see articles about data breaches involving phishing emails, ransomware, viruses and other techniques used by hackers, data breaches can also be the result of human error within a company. Regardless of the cause, you could claim if the breach resulted in your suffering.
The time limit for data breach claims is 6-years from the date you gained knowledge of the breach. If the case is centred on a human rights breach, the limitation period is just 1-year.
What Is The GDPR?
The GDPR is a set of rules introduced while Britain was part of the EU. Following Brexit, the law was amended to become the UK GDPR. It applies to those who wish to process data about UK nationals whether the company is based in the UK or abroad.
Legally, before collecting and processing personal data, a data controller must ensure there is a lawful basis to do so. This can come from a contractual arrangement, a legal need or by asking the data subject to permit the use of their information. The last of these reasons is why you see so many boxes popping up on websites these days.
Additionally, data controllers need to make sure information is processed in a secure and confidential manner. Therefore, many have had to adopt new security protocols since the GDPR’s introduction.
The GPDR will also apply to paper-based documentation if it is a) stored in a filing system or b) going to be put into an electronic system. Any digital data of a personal nature are also covered by the new laws.
Legal Expert offers free legal advice about employee data breach claims against Vodafone. Please use their banners if you’d like to connect with them.
Do Data Protection Rules Apply To Vodafone Employees?
All employers need information about their staff. For example, they’ll need to know your bank details if you are going to be paid electronically. With so much data that could be used to identify you, it is covered by the GDPR. Furthermore, to try to prevent data breaches, it must be stored as securely as possible.
If a colleague were to gain access to your work records, it could lead to you suffering. You might become anxious, embarrassed or stressed when thinking about what they’ve seen.
Where records are stolen by cybercriminals, you might lose out financially too. If you do suffer because your employer is involved in a data breach, this is the type of suffering you could claim for.
What Are The GDPR Protection Principles?
Here are some brief details about the founding principles of the GDPR, found in Article 5.
- Where personal data processing occurs, it must be legal, fair and transparent.
- The processed data cannot be used for any other reason than specified.
- Organisations should not collect any information that’s not required.
- Personal data that’s stored needs to be kept up to date.
- It is not legal to keep any personal data for longer than it is needed.
- Data must be processed using confidential and secure methods.
- The organisation must be accountable for the processing of personal data and be able to show how they comply with these rules.
What Categories Of Data Are Protected By The GDPR?
As part of their data processing planning, data controllers should establish whether they are using personal data. The ICO definition is that personal data is anything that could be used to identify the data subject. That means information that could lead to the direct or indirect identification of an individual must be protected.
Examples of the information held by employers that might directly identify you:
- Your name.
- Employee number.
- National Insurance details.
- Mobile or telephone number.
- Your computer username.
- Email address.
- Home address.
Information that may mean you could be identified indirectly:
- Religious beliefs.
- Marital status.
- Disability information.
- Sexual orientation.
- Your age.
- Your race or ethnicity.
Examples Of Data Breaches Of Employers
Let’s now take a look at a few scenarios which could lead to an employee data breach:
- If electronic devices without encryption are left behind on a train.
- Where a cybercriminal gang exploits weaknesses in IT security to steal personal data.
- When staff with no business reason look at your employment record.
- If a manager discusses your poor performance in front of other colleagues.
- Where staff can look at each other’s records as they are stored in insecure parts of the computer network.
- If sensitive documentation gets into the wrong hand as it wasn’t shredded before disposal.
What Could My Employer Have Done To Breach The GDPR?
On the ICO’s website, you can search through all of the actions they have taken and fines they’ve issued. At present, no data breaches involving Vodafone have been listed. However, a breach in 2020/2021 involving Vodafone Group’s low-cost operator announced that around 2.5 million customer’s personal data had been accessed by hackers.
While at this stage it isn’t clear whether the ICO will get involved and whether or not UK customers have been affected, it’s said that personal data and SIM data had been accessed and is available for sale on the dark web (https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/vodafones-ho-mobile-admits-data-breach-25m-users-impacted/).
Relating to employees, however, there aren’t any reportable incidents involving the mobile phone operator. Therefore, to give some idea of how employers can get things wrong, we’ll look at a case study involving another company.
The incident is reported to have involved a sports retailer, Sports Direct, whose staff portal was attacked using a known technical vulnerability. As a result, unencrypted data relating to employees was stolen. According to the news site, the attacker left their number so that management could call them.
In the article, it is claimed that the company didn’t tell staff about the breach. However, it did contact the ICO to make them aware of the incident.
When Is Consent Necessary Before Sharing Employment Data?
The modern world thrives because of data. It floats around the internet, the cloud and businesses. Generally, data sharing is a great way to speed up processes that would take a long time if they were paper-based. However, that doesn’t mean companies can just move data around as they please.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, data controllers must have a lawful basis to process any personal information. However, that doesn’t always mean they require your consent to supply information about you to others.
Sometimes, there is a legal requirement to share data about employees. One example of this is when HMRC asks for information relating to income or tax payments.
Additionally, a legal basis to share information might be formed if your employer believes that you or somebody else is at risk of harm. In that situation, they could give your details to the police.
Whether your consent is needed or not, your employer can only share the minimum amount of information. By doing so, fewer data about you is being passed around and therefore the risk of a data breach is lowered.
What Are The Consequences Of Breaching The GDPR?
Where an organisation finds out about a data protection breach, they are obliged to act quickly and inform you without delay. They must begin a risk assessment and investigation to find out what has happened. Where the breach is reportable, the company should tell the ICO within 72 hours:
- What happened.
- Who might be impacted by the data breach or who has already been affected?
- When the breach came to light and how they found out about it.
- The steps that have been taken to try and resolve the issue.
Additionally, they need to communicate with data subjects who might be put at risk by the breach. One piece of evidence that could help during employee data breach claims against Vodafone is an email or letter telling you that information about you has been illegally accessed. Therefore, it would be a good idea to retain a copy if you’re sent one.
What Is The Information Commissioner’s Office?
Each country that adopted the GDPR appointed a watchdog to oversee it. Here in the UK, our watchdog is the Information Commissioner’s Office. Their role means that they:
- Keep a record of all organisations that register with them.
- Investigate complaints and concerns raised by the public.
- Take control of several data protection laws.
- Conduct investigations where breaches are discovered.
- Use enforcement notices where companies need to change their working practices.
- Use penalty notices to fine companies that have broken data protection laws.
Guidelines On Protecting Employment Data And Information
The role of a watchdog is not just about punishing those who make mistakes. Whilst that might be necessary on occasion, the ICO prefers to be supportive. Therefore, they produce documentation aimed to help those who have to implement the GDPR.
For employers, they have written the comprehensive Employment Practices Code. This is a tool that can be used to ensure that recruitment, staff monitoring and other processes are compliant with the new legislation.
When And How To Report A GDPR Breach
The ICO is happy to review your concerns about data handling if:
- You have complained formally to your employer first.
- They have provided you with a formal response.
- 3-months or less have gone by since your last useful update.
The ICO website says that they could turn your request down if there has been any undue delay in them receiving it. For information on when to complain to the ICO, please use live chat to talk with us.
Employee Data Breach Claims Against Vodafone Compensation Calculator
Compensation in data breach claims is usually made up of two parts. Firstly, you can claim for material damages. This is used to cover any costs or monetary losses caused by the breach. After that, you could seek non-material damages for any suffering caused by anxiety, stress, depression or other psychological issues. This part of the claim is called non-material damages.
The Court of Appeal in the case of Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc  made it clear that:
- Claims for non-material damages could be made whether you lost money due to the data breach or not. Before this case, financial damage was required in order to claim.
- When valuing mental health injuries, the amount of compensation should be based on the formulas that are used in personal injury cases.
The Judicial College Guidelines are used in personal injury cases to help gauge compensation levels. Therefore, our compensation table includes its figures. Please bear in mind, while we have provided potential figures, you’ll get a better estimate if your case is reviewed by a data breach lawyer.
|Type of claim||Level of Injury||Settlement Details|
|PTSD Injuries||Severe||£56,180 to £94,470|
|PTSD Injuries||Moderately Severe||£21,730 to £56,180|
|PTSD Injuries||Moderate||£7,680 to £21,730|
|PTSD Injuries||Less Severe||Up to £7,680|
|Psychiatric Damage (General)||Severe||£51,460 to £108,620|
|Psychiatric Damage (General)||Moderately Severe||£17,900 to £51,460|
|Psychiatric Damage (General)||Moderate||£5,500 to £17,900|
|Psychiatric Damage (General)||Less Severe||Up to £5,500|
An important part of the claims process is proving firstly that your injuries were caused by the breach and secondly, determining how serious the injuries are. That’s why you’ll need to attend a medical assessment during your claim. Most law firms can arrange these locally on your behalf.
Your medical review will be conducted by an expert that is independent of your claim. They’ll ask questions and read your medical records to try and determine the extent of your injuries. They’ll also provide a prognosis to explain how you will suffer in the future (if at all).
Making A No Win No Fee Employee Data Breach Claim Against Vodafone
To mitigate against the fact that some people don’t make claims because they’re worried about solicitor’s fees, many companies provide No Win No Fee services. As the law firm is taking on most of the risk, you’ll benefit from lower stress levels during your claim. You’ll still benefit from having a data breach solicitor on your side, but you won’t have as much financial risk.
To reduce their risk, solicitors will check your case before accepting it. Should they decide to work for you, their services will be funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). Within the contract, the criteria that will need to be achieved before you pay your solicitor will be explained. Essentially, though, you won’t have to pay them if they don’t win your case.
Where compensation is awarded to you, your solicitor will retain a fixed percentage of it to pay for their work. In the CFA, you’ll find the percentage listed as a success fee. That means you’ll know what is payable before you sign up with the solicitor. Importantly, these fees are legally capped to try and stop overcharging.
Legal Expert provide a No Win No Fee service for claims they take on. Use their banners or call them on 0800 073 8804 if you’d like to know more.
Resources And Services
Now it’s time to provide some links and external resources that might be helpful during employee data breach claims against Vodafone.
Data Protection Officers (DPOs) – ICO information on how DPOs help with implementing and managing the GDPR’s rules.
Treating PTSD – This NHS resource shows what options are available during the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
HMRC Employee Data Breaches – If you work for HMRC and you suffer due to a breach, this guide could help.
Claiming Against An Employer – A general look at what constitutes data breaches by employers and when you could start a claim.
Temporary Workers Rights – Details about what rights temporary workers have if they want to seek compensation from an employer.
Employment Data Breach Claim FAQs
We are going to answer some common questions relating to data protection in this section. If you require further details on employee data breach claims against Vodafone, please let us know.
What is special category data?
In terms of the GDPR, data that is categorised as ‘special category’ is personal information that’s sensitive. There are more stringent rules about processing such data which could include information about an individual’s political opinions, ethnic origin, sex life and religious beliefs.
What are the consequences of breaching the GDPR?
While some data breaches won’t cause any issues at all, others can be very serious. Where personal data is illegally accessed it can cause embarrassment, anxiety or distress for the data subject. Furthermore, where criminals are involved, financial losses could be sustained too.
Can I claim for another person?
It is sometimes possible to represent somebody else during a compensation claim using by becoming their litigation friend. However, there are limited reasons why this might be possible. One case where the process could be used is where the claimant does not have the mental capacity to represent themselves.
Is employee data covered by GDPR?
Any information that could identify an employee falls within the scope of the GDPR’s rules. That can be information like employee numbers, names, contact details and National Insurance numbers. Additionally, information relating to marital status, ethnicity, religion, disabilities and other characteristics are covered too because they might indirectly identify somebody.
Thank you for reading our guide to employee data breach claims against Vodafone.
Guide by HAM
Edited by BIL