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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47375
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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If an employer receives a subject access request, and do not

Resolved Question:

If an employer receives a subject access request, and do not release material for well over 6 months to a year having consulted with the ICO and having taken Legal Advice as well, have they breached the data protection act. The data subject is suffering from severe depression due to non-disclosure for such a long length of time, and has had to step down from their post.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Have they said why they are not releasing the data?

Customer:

They say that they are seeking 3rd party approval for 2 documents. I have already received 2 documents from them which are full of untruths.

Customer:

the content of the 2 letters I already have state that I was off work because I was bluffing my illness even though 2 doctors agree about my diagnosis which was work related stress which led to severe depression.

Customer:

ALL DOCUMENTS WERE WRITTEN IN MARCH & april 2013. I made my subject access in july 2013. I received 2 letters last week, and await a further 2 to be released.

Ben Jones :

If a party has acted in contravention of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), then anyone who has suffered damage or distress as a result can potentially make a claim.


The first step is to report the alleged contravention to the Information Commissioner’s Office, whch I understand you have already done. They are the regulatory body that deals with breaches of data protection regulations and can investigate and fine the infringing party. However they will not award compensation to the victim so the only way to try and get any compensation is by going through court.


If the victim has only suffered distress and no financial damages, compensation is not available unless the breach related to the “special purposes” which means it was related to the processing of artistic, literary or journalistic information. Any other breaches will not qualify.


If there have been financial losses as a result of the breach, then the case could be taken to court. I would not recommend that this is done straight away and suggest trying to reach some kind of compromise with the violating party. However, if that is not possible and court appears to be the only recourse then this leaflet contains useful information on how take a claim for data protection breaches to court:


http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/library/data_protection/practical_application/taking_a_case_to_court.pdf


Remember that court should be used as a last resort and if all other attempts to try and resolve this have failed.

Customer:

the content of the letters I already have caused me great hurt and further added to my illness.

Ben Jones :

I understand but the law only compensates financial losses and your situation does not fall within the exemptions that qualify for distress damages

Customer:

I lost my job.

Ben Jones :

As a direct result of not having the data disclosed?

Customer:

as a direct result of work related stress which led to severe depression. I am a minister of religion and at present I have made a complaint to the highest court of the church, and yes not seeing these documents has Indeed for such a long time has been very detrimental to my health etc. is there a POSSIBLE breach of the DCA

Ben Jones :

This will not be a direct result of the failure to disclose the data I'm afraid, if you were to take this to court there will be significant risks with not succeeding and incurring further costs

Customer:

I AM NOT ALLOWED A SOLICITOR WITH ME WHEN IN A CHURCH COURT, AND HOW CAN A CHURCH COURT EXAMINE ITSELF? IS THAT POSSIBLE

Ben Jones :

it would be possible, for example in a normal employment setting the employer can check the procedures/actions it has taken and identify any errors so a Church court can also examine the conduct of those it regulates

Customer:

BUT I HAVE ALREADY BEEN VINDICATED. I AM MAKING A COMPLAINT ABOUT THIER METHODOLOGY WHICH IS KANGAROO IN TYPE.

Ben Jones :

I cannot comment on what the Church court can or can't do, this is not really a legal issue it is an internal matter governed by completely different rules, my advice can only extend to your legal rights in terms of a DPA breach

Customer:

THANK YOU. OUTSIDE YOUR REMIT.

Ben Jones :

Well not the issues you originally contacted me for, those being the data protection breaches, which have already been dealt with

Customer:

THANK YOU ANYHOW.

Ben Jones :

you are welcome

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