Employers – tips for protecting employee and customer data

April 14, 2020


For the past few weeks, the Coronavirus has affected the way we live and work. For many businesses this means the majority, if not all, employees working from home.

A recent Supreme Court case is a reminder that keeping employee data safe should be a top priority for employers.

In April 2020, it was held that an employer cannot be held vicariously liable when an employee commits an act of wrongdoing as a personal vendetta. However, this decision has only been reached by the UK’s highest court after several years of litigation under the Data Protection Act 1998 in an action brought by 5,000 claimants – demonstrating how costly data protection breaches can be.

In this case, a disgruntled Morrisons employee uploaded the supermarket’s payroll data for 100,000 staff on to the internet using his own personal equipment at home on his day off. The Supreme Court held that Morrisons was not vicariously liable for the employee data breach.

This judgment will be welcome news to employers. However, cyber-security and employee data protection should remain a top priority for all employers, especially in the current climate where working from home is widespread.

Here are 5 tips for employers to ensure that they adequately protect their employees and customers from breaches of their personal data:

  1. Make sure you have a data protection policy in place and communicate this policy with your employees.

  2. Train your employees on how to identify and avoid cyber attacks and phishing emails.

  3. Develop a comprehensive cyber-security plan alongside your IT department, including ensuring that if staff are using personal equipment for home-working they still have adequate security software in place.

  4. Keep security a priority by using stronger passwords, more secure networks, and end the sharing of workplace passwords.

  5. Review your data protection policy on a frequent basis.



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