Cyber Security Practitioner
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Volume: 4 Issue: 1
(January 2018)

claiming damages breach uk data protection act 1998 morrisons data breach case former employee morrisons uk supermarket chain serving

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Claiming damages for breach of the UK Data Protection Act 1998: the Morrisons data breach case

A former employee of Morrisons, the UK supermarket chain, is serving an eight year prison sentence for offences under the Fraud Act 2006 and the UK’s Data Protection Act 1998 (‘DPA’) after deliberately disclosing the payroll records of almost 100,000 Morrisons staff members. Following the conviction, a group of over 5,500 employees of Morrisons took action to recover compensation for breach of a statutory duty under the DPA, as well as for breach of confidence and misuse of private information. The group failed in its direct claims, but the High Court ruling in the case confirmed companies’ vicarious liability for malicious data breaches caused by employees. But what about the employees whose data was made public by the rogue employee without their consent? In this article, Mark Surguy, Partner at Weightmans LLP, sets out the criticisms voiced by the claimant group in the case against Morrisons, especially relating to the suggestion that Morrisons’ management and IT policies and practices fell short of the requirements of principle seven of the DPA, and discusses the Court’s ruling.

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