The Court of Appeal has determined that Morrison’s supermarket is responsible for an employee’s decision to copy thousands of staff payroll details onto a USB and to leak the information.
In what has been described as a ‘wake-up call’ for businesses, the court determined that the actions of the employee were the employer’s responsibility and Morrison’s was ruled to be vicariously liable. A Supreme Court appeal is now anticipated.
This is a landmark decision, which not only risks a ruinous amount of claims from staff for breach of data protection, but also demonstrates that even when an employee ‘goes rogue’ the employer can still be liable.
Employers have more and more hurdles to jump, processes to follow and pitfalls to avoid each day.
This decision should make employers think even more carefully about their conduct and that of their employees as they may find themselves liable despite having no way of predicting an employee’s actions.