4,000 Morrisons staff now seeking payout over data leak

Andrew Skelton
Andrew Skelton
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THOUSANDS OF employees from Bradford supermarket chain Morrisons have issued demands for compensation over what is believed to be Britain’s biggest ever data security claim.

The development follows a High Court ruling allowing them to pursue a group claim against the retailer for failing to prevent the bank, salary and National Insurance details of almost 100,000 members of staff being posted on the internet by an employee with a grudge.

Andrew Skelton, of Liverpool, a senior internal auditor at Morrisons’ Bradford head office, was jailed for eight years in July after being found guilty of fraud by sending the information to newspapers and data sharing websites.

Nearly 4,000 of his former colleagues have now submitted details of their claim to the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court in London. Some of those participating in the legal action have left Morrisons’ employment since the leak in 2013.

The court has also granted other Morrisons’ staff who were affected by the data breach four months to decide whether they wish to join the claim.

Nick McAleenan, a Data Privacy lawyer at JMW Solicitors who is representing the group, said that the claimants included a number of staff concerned at having “suffered financial loss” which they worried might be connected to the Morrisons’ leak.

“We argue that Skelton leaked staff details at a time when he was actually employed by Morrisons to keep such material safe.

“It remains to be seen whether Morrisons will file a defence to the claims which we’ve now submitted or will simply admit liability.”

Mr McAleenan said the claim filed by his clients alleges that Morrisons was ultimately responsible for breaches of privacy, confidence and data protection law.

Skelton’s trial was told that he leaked the details of 99,998 employees after being disciplined for using the company’s mailroom to ship parcels to his private eBay customers.