Philip Sayers, Employment lawyer at Coodes Solicitors comments on a recent case that reminds employers and employees that it is easier than ever to spot data theft.
“The Information Commissioner’s Office has prosecuted and fined the former employee of a recruitment agency for unlawfully obtaining personal data.
“Gregory Oram had been working for the recruitment agency when he emailed the personal data of some 500 candidates to his personal email address before leaving to start a rival recruitment company. The data included contact details, candidate files and other personal information, such as CVs, copies of qualifications and job references. He was clearly seeking to use the contacts for his new business venture. In court, Mr Oram pleaded guilty and was fined under section 55 of the Data Protection Act. As well as facing fines, the outcome will clearly have been damaging to Mr Oram’s future career prospects.
“Historically it was very difficult to prove that data had been removed by an employee. Companies were understandably reluctant to pursue cases and risk expensive court cases without having enough evidence. With the auditing facilities now on most software it is possible to see when data has been removed and, in many cases, who has looked at it. This means that while it may be easier for employees to steal data, it is far easier now for employers to prove when it has happened.
“Of course, businesses need to ensure their staff are aware of the risk of data theft. This means making sure employees are trained to handle sensitive information and to spot a potential breach. Business owners should also ensure the IT department is helping to protect data by having the right software and processes in place.
“Mr Oram’s case is a stark reminder to employees that stealing data from an employer is an offence. While data can now be emailed and copied in a matter of seconds, it is easier than ever before for employers to prove when data has been taken.”
For more information on this or any Employment enquiries contact Philip Sayers, Employment team, Coodes Solicitors on 01872 246200 or firstname.lastname@example.org