Supermarket chain Morrisons is being sued by thousands of its staff today after their personal details were leaked onto the internet.
In 2014, a former senior internal auditor at the firm’s Bradford headquarters posted the payroll information of nearly 100,000 employees on the internet.
The information included their bank, salary and national insurance details, along with addresses and phone numbers.
Now 5,518 current and former staff, who allege that Morrisons failed to prevent the leak, are taking the case to the High Court in London.
They claim the leak exposed them to the risk of identity theft and potential financial loss and that Morrisons, which denies liability, is responsible for breaches of privacy, confidence and data protection laws.
Lawyers say that the case, the first data leak class action in Britain, has potential implications for every individual and business in the country.
It is thought to be the biggest-ever claim in relation to a data breach in Britain and comes amid growing concerns about cyber security.
Nick McAleenan of JMW Solicitors said: “The court will decide whether Morrisons bears any legal responsibility for the misuse and disclosure of the payroll information of the many thousands of people bringing claims in this case.”
The trial is expected to take two weeks.
A Morrisons spokesman said the company was unable to comment prior to the court proceedings.