A Manchester man has won his case against former employer the Department for Work and Pensions, after a superior shared “highly private” medical information with his colleagues.
Aftab Marchant, who worked in the DWP’s Stockport office, has reportedly received a substantial payout in the case – for which he was claiming damages of £50,000.
According to the Manchester Evening News, the department has paid out in the case, and given the manager an informal warning.
Marchant said that he told his superior about a long-term illness he had, along with the “embarrassing” side effects of the treatment, and asked this to be kept strictly confidential.
However, the superior sent an email about it to a colleague, with 10 others copied in.
Marchant said he found out about the breach – which happened in February 2016 – after returning to work following a period of annual leave, when a colleague asked about his illness.
The former staffer told the MEN that he had depression and was “very paranoid” about being a subject of workplace gossip, and later decided to take his employer to court for distress and personal injury as a result of a breach of data protection and privacy laws.
His lawyer, Nick McAleenan of JMW Solicitors, told the MEN: “After what has been an incredibly distressing time for our client, it is positive to see the DWP acknowledge that this was an absolutely unacceptable disclosure of private information, with a healthy sum of money paid to our client as a result.”
The DWP said that it didn’t comment on individual cases, but said, "We take the welfare of our staff and the security of all personal data extremely seriously." ®