Thank you. This is indeed likely to amount to a breach of data protection as they have accessed personal data about you without the right to do so or without your consent.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the new legislation on data protection and outlines certain principles for data controllers to adhere to when they process an individual’s personal data. If a party has acted in contravention of the GDPR, the person whose rights have been breached could potentially take things further and even seek compensation for damages.
The first step is to consider reporting the alleged breach to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). They are the regulatory body that deals with data protection breaches and have certain powers at their disposal to deal with them. However they will not award compensation to the victim so the only way to try and do this is by going through court.
What the ICO can do, if a breach is reported to them, is order the company to do the following:
- impose a temporary or indefinite ban on the processing of data
- force them to comply with your request
- provide any required information
- warn and admonish
- order rectification, erasure or destruction of specific data
In addition they can impose severe financial penalties and fine the company in breach.
If the victim wanted to take formal legal action, they may do so under Article 76 of the GDPR. There is no need to show that financial losses have been suffered and compensation can be sought for mere distress caused by the alleged breach. The level of compensation will depend on the severity of the breach and the effects it has had on the victim.
Whilst legal action is an option, I would not recommend that this is done straight away and suggest trying to reach some kind of compromise with the violating party. Use the ICO as well in the process if needed and report the breaches to them and only use court and legal action as a last resort. You can also raise a formal internal grievance with the employer as that is a formal complaint they need to deal with.
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