SUPERMARKET CHAIN Morrisons is facing a multi-million-pound compensation claim after losing a case in the Court of Appeal relating to its 2014 payroll data breach.
The decision backs up the judgement reached by the High Court last December, finding Morrisons liable for the actions of its senior internal auditor, Andrew Skelton, who leaked the data. He is now serving an eight-year jail sentence for fraud, securing unauthorised access to computer material, and disclosing personal data.
The company was subsequently sued by staff who are claiming compensation for what they say is "upset and distress" caused by the data leak. The company had argued that it could not be held vicariously liable for the actions of Skelton. A total of 5,518 current and former members of staff are involved in the action.
The company claimed that responsibility should be held solely by Skelton and that it had acted quickly to remove the compromised data from the internet. It said that it will now take its case to the Supreme Court.
In a statement, the company said: "Morrisons worked to get the data taken down quickly, provide protection for those colleagues and reassure them that they would not be financially disadvantaged.
"In fact, we are not aware that anybody suffered any direct financial loss. We believe we should not be held responsible so that's why we will now appeal to the Supreme Court."
The 2014 data breach saw the company's entire payroll leaked by Skelton. At his trial, it was claimed that he bore a grudge against the company after he was disciplined for dealing in so-called 'legal highs' at work.
Skelton had sent information about staff salaries, including their bank details, to several newspapers and also posted the information publicly, and sought to set-up a colleague to take the rap for his actions. The breach cost Morrisons more than £2m to rectify. µ
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