April 1: Morrisons cannot be held liable for the actions of an employee with a “grudge” who leaked the payroll data of almost 1,00,000 members of staff, Britain’s highest court has ruled.

The supermarket chain brought a Supreme Court challenge in a bid to overturn previous judgments which required it to compensate thousands of employees whose personal details were posted on the internet. 

A panel of five judges has now unanimously ruled that the supermarket chain is not liable for the actions of its former auditor Andrew Skelton.

Skelton uploaded the payroll details of 98,998 of Morissons employees in January 2014. He also anonymously sent CDs containing the details to newspapers, including names, addresses, and date of births. He was subsequently sentenced to eight years in prison.

The Supreme Court’s decision was announced during an internet streaming session where president Lord Reed said Skelton leaked the data after he was given a verbal warning following disciplinary proceedings.

The judge said employers could only be held liable for the actions of employees if they were closely connected with their duties at work.


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