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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50193
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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Hi, My organisations HR recently sent our the names and

Customer Question


My organisation's HR recently sent our the names and personal addresses of 500+ employees to 50+ managers (of varying levels and not necessarily linked to the 500+ employees), without their consent, by mistake.

Have they breached any DPA rules?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Before proceeding please note that as I am a practising solicitor, I am often in and out of meetings, travelling between clients or even at court when I pick your question up. This may even occur at weekends. Therefore, I apologise in advance but there may be a delay in getting back to you and providing my advice. Please be patient and I will respond as soon as I can. You do not have to wait here and you will receive an email when I have responded.

For now please let me know how this came to happen.

JACUSTOMER-xtw8ez3w- :

A number of employees were Tupe'd from Ericsson to 3UK 6 months ago. In our measures prior to the move, we were told that there would be no location changes. However, they made an announcement 2 weeks ago to state that we were in fact moving location. As part of the communications, HR were supposed to send a list of employees with the distance difference from their current location to their new location to line managers of impacted employees. Unfortunately they sent a list of 500+ names and personal home addresses (most of which are not impacted) to a mass management dist list - again to some managers whose team members are not impacted. The list should have contained targeted employees and sent only to targeted managers for their own teams. Basically many people are unaware that there home addresses have been sent out to a mass distribution list within the company. But my concerns is that if someone finds ou that their home address has been sent to random people without their consent, have the company breached a DPA rule?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your patience. This could indeed amount to a data protection breach if the dissemination of the data was not what it was originally collected for.

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. 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 processing for artistic, literary or journalistic purposes. 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.

This is also something that can be pursued internally with the employer by following their grievance procedure.

I hope this has answered your query and would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating. Your question will not close and I can continue providing further advice if necessary. Thank you