Workplace discrimination from a data breach
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Workplace discrimination from a data breach

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Whenever an employee joins a company, they are usually required to disclose a variety of personal details for the purposes of workplace records. In many cases, this data is taken for the employee’s safety, with details such as family contact numbers and health condition information allowing employers to act appropriately in the event of an emergency. However, holding such sensitive information can pose many risks to employees if it becomes exposed. In fact, if they have poor data protection measures, companies risk making their employees vulnerable to workplace discrimination from a data breach if something happens.

Employers have a legal obligation to protect the information of their employees, so they can be held liable when a data breach does occur. We aim to bring victims of data breaches the justice they deserve, so contact us for advice if your personal information has been exposed in your place of work.

The risks of workplace discrimination from a data breach

Employers need to obtain certain information from their employees for the purposes of workplace safety, such as emergency contact details, and information for employment transactions, such as bank details.

Although the examples given above come with their own data security risks, they are not typical causes of workplace discrimination from a data breach. However, details related to personal identity can be incredibly sensitive.

It is now common practice for employers to request details for the purposes of monitoring the diversity of their staff. This data can include details of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and disability. The ICO states that information for diversity monitoring can only be used for this purpose and recommends that it should also be anonymised where possible so that it cannot be attributed to individual employees.

However, if this data is not protected, it can give way to harmful workplace discrimination from a data breach. An incident could be as simple as a misdirected email, or it could be provoked by giving too many employees access to this information unnecessarily. The consequent discrimination could manifest itself in explicit verbal abuse from other employees, or a more covert type of exclusion. In whatever form it comes in, it can leave the affected employees feeling uneasy and unsafe in their own workplace.

A workplace data breach risking discrimination

The Blackpool NHS data breach is an example that perfectly demonstrates how data protection errors can expose diversity monitoring information. The breach arose from the accidental publication of spreadsheet data which left, among other details, information about religious beliefs, sexual orientation and disabilities exposed online. It affected some 6,574 employees, and the data was available to unauthorised third parties for almost a month.

While the Watford Community Housing data breach was not a workplace data breach, it did involve a leak of sensitive data in a spreadsheet, and is one of the cases for which we represent a number of victims.

Making a compensation claim

If you have been affected by workplace discrimination from a data breach, you may have a compensation claim to make. It is unacceptable that you have been made to feel vulnerable and marginalised in your own workplace as a result of a data protection error.

We have supported victims to claim compensation for breaches, exposing sensitive employee, medical and financial information, so we understand how profoundly victims can be affected when such private information is exposed. In fact, your final data breach compensation amount can usually reflect the sensitivity of the information exposed, which is why diversity data breaches can see higher compensation awards.

Anyone who thinks they may have a claim can contact us today for free, no-obligation advice.

Start Your Claim

You can call our claims team free from a landline or mobile on 0800 634 7575 or click on the link below to create a call back with one of our expert Data Claims team.Information on how we handle your data is available in our Privacy Policy.

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Your privacy is extremely important to us. Information on how we handle your data is in our Privacy Policy

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