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If we were to ask employers about the employee data that they hold, most might come up with a long list of personal details. Lots of employee information is made up of basic details, such as contact numbers, bank account numbers and National Insurance numbers. However, the HR department often stores more in-depth records relating to issues such as workplace disputes, employee complaints, mediation matters, and counselling details. This is where the possibility of workplace disciplinary data leaks can be worrying, and medical and diversity data could also be at risk.
When disciplinary action is taken against employees, it will typically be handled privately and quietly, and should be kept this way to protect those affected. However, this privacy can be compromised when a data breach occurs, severely undermining the integrity of the disciplinary process.
Even where wrong has been done, disciplinary information should not be subjected to public exposure. Anyone who has fallen victim to a data leak such as this may be entitled to claim compensation for the harm caused.
In most workplaces, there will be strict procedures in place for the handling of workplace disputes, grievances and disciplinary action. There will often be nominated human resources staff members who should communicate with the relevant employees respectfully and quietly.
When disciplinary action is required, it may be something as simple as asking an employee to take leave for a few weeks, or it could involve permanent dismissal. Regardless of the action taken, workplace disciplinary data leaks can subject those involved to judgement and prejudice.
If fellow employees became aware of the reasons for an employee’s leave of absence, they may be excluded and rejected upon their return to the workplace. As another example, if the reasons for an employee’s dismissal were to become public knowledge, it could harm their future prospects and personal relations.
Also, if an employee has confidentially reported another employee to HR, there could be a great deal of hostility if this information were to come out. This could cause someone to feel incredibly stressed and worried about the thought of being approached by the person in question, and it could even cause a safety concern.
The hypothetical situations detailed above show just how damaging the effects of workplace disciplinary data leaks can be. Even if you were at fault in a disciplinary situation, you still have a right to privacy, so you may be able to claim compensation if a breach of data protection law has occurred.
The law can enable victims to claim compensation for any distress and financial losses or expenses that have been caused by a data breach. In the case of workplace disciplinary data leaks, we are more likely to be looking at distress claims for the most part, but in cases where you have been forced to resign as a result of the data breach itself, we may also be able to represent you.
As a leading, specialist firm of data leak compensation lawyers, we are here to help you. Data breach awards can be significant in cases where private and personal information exposure has taken place, and such an event must be taken very seriously indeed.
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