Morrisons faces huge payout after leak of workers’ dataComments Off on Morrisons faces huge payout after leak of workers’ data
Morrisons faces paying out millions of pounds to its own staff after the biggest breach of employee data in British corporate history.
The data breach, caused by a disgruntled internal auditor, affected the supermarket giant’s 100,000 staff and has cost it £2 million to rectify.
The High Court has approved a group litigation order amalgamating all claims against the company into one action.
In July, Andrew Skelton, 43, a senior auditor, was jailed for eight years at Bradford crown court for fraud, securing unauthorised access to Morrisons’ computer material and disclosing personal data.
He had held a grudge since he was disciplined in 2013 for using the mail room at the chain’s Bradford headquarters to post eBay packages.
He sent data containing information including salaries, National Insurance numbers, dates of birth and bank account details to newspapers and uploaded it to data-sharing websites.
Following a hearing before Senior Master Barbara Fontaine at the High Court, more than 2,000 of Skelton’s former colleagues are now free to pursue a group claim against the retailer.
Nick McAleenan, a data privacy lawyer at JMW Solicitors, which has been appointed as lead solicitor in the case, said there was now a four-month period in which other Morrisons employees who were affected could join the group action.
He said the case had implications for “every employee and every employer” in the country.
“Whenever employers are given personal details of their staff, they have a duty to look after them,” he added.
“My clients’ position is that Morrisons failed to prevent a data leak which exposed tens of thousands of its employees to the very real risk of identity theft and potential loss.
“We may well see other employees who might have been dissuaded from making a claim on their own deciding to join with their colleagues because of the group momentum which has now been established.”
A spokesman for Morrisons said the company would not be commenting.