What to do when your employer shares your personal information with other employees?
Employees typically have to share a range of sensitive personal information with their employers, from their home address and birth dates to any medical conditions or disabilities they are living with, as well as information about issues such as their ethnicity, sexuality and gender identity. Employers also hold information about an employee’s salary and their bank details, as well as their disciplinary record and other aspects of their performance.
Employers have a legal duty to keep such information confidential and not share it, unless they have a valid reason for doing so and follow appropriate procedures around this. Where an employee’s personal information is shared inappropriately, for example, with someone who did not have a valid reason to access the information, this can cause significant distress and other personal consequences for the employee.
If you are an employee whose personal information has been shared by your employer in an inappropriate way, then you might be wondering what your rights are and what action you can take.
In this article, we cover the following common questions people often have around an employer sharing personal information with other employees and other issues related to employee confidentiality:
- Can my employer share my personal information with other employees?
- What types of information does data protection for employees cover?
- Can my employer disclose my salary to other employees?
- Can my manager discuss my performance with other employees?
- Can I get compensation if my employer shared my personal information in the UK?
- What compensation can you claim for a breach of data protection in the workplace?
While we hope you will find this article helpful, we are also very happy to answer any questions you have directly. To speak to a member of our team about a workplace confidentiality claim and how the process works, you can fill in our secure online claim form or give us a call on 0330 041 5135.
Can my employer share my personal information with other employees?
Your employer can potentially share your personal information with other employees, but only if they have a lawful basis for doing so. Whether there is such a lawful basis is a decision that can only be made by the company’s nominated ‘data controller’.
What is a lawful basis for deciding whether your personal information can be shared is set out in the Data Protection Act 2018 which is the UK version of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Examples of a lawful basis for sharing your information include where you have given consent for this data to be shared or where it is necessary for your employer to comply with a legal obligation.
If you believe your employer has been sharing your information with other employees and did not have a lawful basis for doing so, this would be a potential breach of the Data Protection Act.
What types of information does data protection for employees cover?
The Data Protection Act relates to ‘personal and sensitive’ information. Personal information is information that relates to someone who can be identified e.g. their name, address or bank details. Sensitive information relates to issues such as a person’s race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation, as well as any criminal record.
Can my employer disclose my salary to other employees?
Salary information is not covered by the Data Protection Act, so an employer can disclose this information to other employees if they choose to do so, unless there is a clause in your employment contract preventing this.
Can my manager discuss my performance with other employees?
When it comes to a manager discussing employees with other employees, performance is an issue people can be very sensitive about. However, as with salary, this is not an issue that is covered by the Data Protection Act, so your employer is free to do this, unless your employment contract specifically forbids it.
Can I get compensation if my employer shared my personal information in the UK?
If your employer has been sharing your personal information with other employees, then you may potentially have grounds for making a compensation claim against them. In order to make a claim, you would need to be able to show that the way this information was shared breached the Data Protection Act.
Knowing whether your employer has committed a breach of the Data Protection Act is not always straightforward, so it is important to seek specialist legal advice before raising the issue with your employer. This can give you the best chance of a positive outcome and help to ensure you are able to claim any compensation to which you are entitled.
What compensation can you claim for a breach of data protection in the workplace in the UK?
If your personal information has been inappropriately shared at work in a way that breaches UK data protection law, then there are two main issues you can potentially claim compensation for:
If your employer allowed someone access to your bank details, then it is possible these could have been used to extract money from your account and for other types of financial fraud. If you have suffered direct financial losses as a result of a breach of data protection at work, then you may be able to claim those losses back.
The wrong people having access to your personal information can cause a lot of emotional distress, which can have very real consequences for your life. Common issues people experience following a breach of data in the workplace include difficulty sleeping, feeling ill, being unsettled and experiencing significant stress.
If you have experienced these types of issues or any other emotional issues following a data protection breach at work, then you may be owed compensation for the impact on your life.
How Hayes Connor can support you if your employer has shared your personal information in the UK
If your personal information has been shared by your employer in a way that breaches UK data protection law, our solicitors may be able to support you to make a compensation claim. Our team can act for clients on a no win, no fee basis, removing the financial risk of pursuing a claim for breach of employee confidentiality.
At Hayes Connor, we are one of the largest teams of data breach claims specialists in the UK, with a wealth of combined experience. We can advise you on whether you are likely to have grounds for a claim, the level of compensation you may be entitled to and what you need to do to start a claim. Our team can then be on hand to guide you through every step of the claims process.
We believe it is really important that people stand up for their rights with regards to their personal data. As such, our goal is to ensure that anyone who is affected by a data breach is able to get the compensation they deserve, while making the claims process as simple and stress-free as possible.
You can find out more about our expertise and how we handle data breach claims here.
To start a claim, you can use our online claim form and we will get back to you shortly to let you know if we believe you have grounds for compensation.
If you would like to speak to a member of our team, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 0330 041 5135.