Morrisons Supermarket Payroll Data Leak

21st March 2014 Media Law

It has been reported that the financial and banking details of up to 100,000 staff at Morrisons, the UK's fourth biggest supermarket chain, have been leaked on-line. This has, naturally, raised huge concerns amongst Morrisons' staff members regarding the implications of this disclosure.

It has been reported that Police have arrested a man in relation to the disclosure and Morrisons has reportedly said that it is: urgently reviewing [its] internal data security measures However, this may be cold-comfort for the thousands of Morrisons employees who may be affected by this case. The risk of identity fraud and misuse of the staff's sensitive financial information is obvious.

Morrisons staff have also raised concerns regarding Morrisons'; alleged delay in contacting them regarding the breach.

The ICO have stated: We have been made aware of reports that Morrisons have suffered a potential data breach, and we will be making enquiries.

From a legal perspective, cases involving data security leaks raise issues regarding compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998. Equally, financial information has been held by the courts to be private information for the purposes of privacy law. Misuse of private information can give rise to a claim for compensation and injunctions to prevent further unauthorised conduct.

The European Parliament is currently debating new laws regarding data protection and, in the light of this latest case, it will be interesting to see how those legal developments progress. If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this blog, please call us on 0161 828 1858.

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Nick McAleenan is a Partner located in Manchester in our Media & Reputation Management; Data Protection & Privacy department

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