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Vicarious liability and data protection breaches (Supreme Court decision in Morrisons case) - WM Morrison Supermarkets plc v Various Claimants [SupCrt EW] 01.04.20 (Unreported)

This appeal concerns the circumstances in which an employer is vicariously liable for wrongs committed by its employees, and also whether vicarious liability may arise for breaches by an employee of duties imposed by the Data Protection Act 1998. HELD: no vicarious liability arises in the present case. The wrongful disclosure of the data was not so closely connected with that task that it can fairly and properly be regarded as made by the employee while acting in the ordinary course of his employment. The fact that his employment gave him the opportunity to commit the wrongful act is not sufficient to warrant the imposition of vicarious liability. An employer is not normally vicariously liable where the employee was not engaged in furthering his employer’s business, but rather was pursuing a personal vendetta.

Brodies blog post by Martin Sloan (01.04.20)
Link to judgment
Category: Data Protection » Employment; Personal data. Keyword(s): Vicarious liability. Area(s) of law: Employment; Public Sector; Technology and Information; Litigation; DP & Cybersecurity.
Source: [2020] UKSC 12.

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