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21 Dec 2015

Thousands of Morrisons staff seeking payout over data leak

Thousands of staff working for Morrisons supermarket have taken legal action against their employer for not taking sufficient measures to protect their personal data, This is Money reports.

In what is said to be the UK´s largest ever data security claim, nearly 4,000 employees have submitted their details to the Queen´s Bench division of London´s High Court. The claims come following the revelation that disgruntled employee Andrew Skelton had released to the public the bank, salary and national insurance details of more than 100,000 of his colleagues.

Skelton was trialled at Bradford Crown Court in July this year, where it was stated that he had posted the personal information on data-sharing websites and also posted it to a number of newspapers. He was found guilty and sentenced to eight years in prison.

As part of the decision, the court also granted other Morrisons´ staff who had been affected by the leak four months to decide whether or not they wanted to add their names to the claim against Skelton.

Some of the staff included in the legal action no longer work for the supermarket chain, having left following the 2013 leak. But according to Nick McAleenan at JMW Solicitors, the lawyer representing the group, many of the staff involved were concerned about suffering ‘a financial loss´ that could be connected to the data breach.

“We argue that Skelton leaked staff details at a time when he was actually employed by Morrisons to keep such material safe,” said McAleenan. “It remains to be seen whether Morrisons will file a defence to the claims which we´ve now submitted or will simply admit liability.”

Headed by chief executive David Potts, Morrisons commented: “We are contesting this case and we are not accepting liability for the actions of a rogue individual. We are not aware anybody suffered a financial loss from this breach.”

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