The age of information and the technological advancements that drive it have brought with it innovation and new systems for criminals to exploit for their own gain. Identity theft being one of their primary sources of illegal income.
Businesses using digital methods to store personal employee information need to be aware of the associated risks and ensure employee data is secured. In the event the system is breached, employers need to have a plan in place to limit the potential damages as failure to prepare exposes employers to severe consequences.
Can Employees Sue Employers for Identity Theft?
Employers who fail to take the necessary precautions while handling employee data expose themselves to lawsuits by employees who have sustained damages due to their negligence or failure to take the necessary precautions.
Several federal laws impose the protection of confidential employee information. These laws include the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT).
In the event criminals breach employer systems and use the stolen information with criminal intent. Aggrieved employees may consider what their next steps are to obtain justice. Besides the actual perpetrators of the crime. Employee’s may initiate legal action against their employer for their responsibility of the stolen information as the actual perpetrators of the crime normally stay anonymous.
How To Sue Your Employer for Identity Theft?
An employee may utilize several methods to obtain justice. Beyond reporting the employer to the relevant federal bodies such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The employee’s may also consider the option of pursuing a civil lawsuit in either the small claims court, state, or federal court.
Employee’s may rely on the following reasons to justify their lawsuit;
- Breach of fiduciary duty,
- Invasion of privacy,
- Breach of contract,
- Infliction of emotional distress, and
- Any other legal theories listed under the state statute/
An individual representing themselves would need to consider the small claims or state courts as options in pursuit of a civil claim. Legal representation is a recommended suggestion due to the complexity of the legal procedures and framework of the case.
How Much Can You Recover For Identity Theft?
The type and severity of the breach will be the primary factors in calculating your potential compensation as a victim. You may suffer multiple forms of damages as outlined above. Estimating a set amount for damages would require an analysis of the facts of the case and damages thereto.
Damages range from;
- Cost of replacing debit and credit cards
- Cost of changing information stolen during the incident
- Services fees for monitoring personal information after the breach
- Cost of credit reports and insurance
- Emotional damage from the breach – Anxiety
- Invasion of privacy
- Any other expenses due to the breach
An employer will receive federal fines up to $2,500 per employee that was compromised by the breach. Which will be compounded by the liability for the damages the employees suffered because of their failure to secure the confidential information.
Do I Need To Hire An Attorney If I am A Victim Of Identity Theft?
In order to avoid losing the chance of receiving fair compensation. It is generally considered a good idea to consider consulting a lawyer or firm that can assist in your case. Understanding how to file the lawsuit, deadlines to observe, and what details to provide is important knowledge when pursuing a favorable outcome.
Liability under federal law will depend on the type of information breached, whereas State laws act as the primary source of identity theft when determining liability against employers. State laws can impose additional requirements and restrictions on how employers use, store and transmit employee information.
Due to the various laws and procedures to consider when initiating a legal suit against an employer it is important to consider your understanding of what is required and whether a legal representation should be considered before attempting to sue an employer for identity theft.
As an employee you have the right to hold your employer legally responsible for allowing identity theft to occur with personal information you have entrusted to them.
The damages you can potentially claim will depend on the type and degree of damage sustained. Consulting an attorney or firm to assist in resolving this form of legal dispute is recommended to secure the fairest compensation and avoid any legal curveballs that would otherwise risk the likelihood of success.