Whenever a cybersecurity data breach occurs, employees are at risk. Employees’ personal information could be stolen and face significant financial damages from identity theft and fraud. New York employers have a legal obligation to use reasonable care to protect the sensitive data of their employees from cyber criminals. Unfortunately, many New York employers put their employee’s personal identifying information (PII) at risk of being stolen through credit card fraud, tax fraud, fishing scams, and medical fraud.
Protecting the Rights of Employees Harmed by Data Breaches
If you have been the victim of a data breach while working for an employer in New Paltz, New York, it is important that you understand your legal rights and options. HKM Employment Attorneys are prepared to protect your rights and hold employers accountable when negligence leads to data breaches that hurt employees. If you want to discuss your case with an experienced employment attorney, contact HKM Employment Attorneys to schedule an initial consultation.
What is a Data Breach?
Data breaches are becoming more common than ever. From large employers with thousands of employees to small businesses, no business is safe from being attacked by hackers and other cybercriminals. Cybercriminals know that employers have a significant amount of information about their employees. When hired, employees must give their employer information like their address, social security number, date of birth, and other personal information. Employers have a duty to keep this information confidential.
Generally, data breaches are preventable when employers use reasonable care to protect information and have policies in place. Most data breaches happen when there is a weakness in the employer’s technology to protect employees’ information. Breaches can also happen because of user behavior.
Unintentional Data Breaches
Not all data breaches are caused by cyber criminals hacking into an employer’s database. In some cases, an employee who works for the company, such as a co-worker or supervisor may unintentionally provide access to one or more employees’ personal information. Although the breach was unintentional, employees may still be able to hold their employers accountable if they can prove that an employer’s negligent cybersecurity practices led to the breach.
In other cases, a person who works for the company may intentionally access employees’ personal information. They may share employees’ personal information for personal gain, to cause harm to the employer, or even in exchange for compensation from an outside source. Employers have a legal obligation to use reasonable care to prevent their own employees from breaching other employees’ privacy.
Lost or Stolen Electronic Devices
When an employee loses or misplaces an electronic device was sensitive employee information, it can lead to a data breach. For example, if an employee leaves an unlocked unencrypted laptop, tablet, cell phone, or another electronic device at a coffee shop, it can fall into the wrong hands.
Malicious Cyber Criminals
Finally, malicious cyber criminals have caused significant damage to employers and employees over the last five years. Cybercriminals are hackers who do not work for the company but use different tactics to break into the company’s system, gather private employee information, and use the information to profit on the black market. Cybercriminals hack into employer databases in three main ways — brute force attacks, phishing, and malware.
In a phishing crime, the cybercriminal emails and employee pretending to be legitimate to trick the employee into giving the cybercriminal access to the employer’s network. Brute force attacks involve using software to guess passwords and access sensitive employee information. Malware allows cybercriminals to infiltrate the software, hardware, operating system, or servers to identify security flaws and steal employees’ data.
How Can Data Breaches Negatively Impact New Paltz, New York, Employees
Criminals can use employees’ sensitive and personal data for profit in multiple ways. For example, a cybercriminal may obtain W-2 information from an employee and then use it to submit fraudulent tax filings under the employee’s name. In other cases, information is sold on the black market, and other criminals use it to commit fraud after the cyber security breach happens. If you have been informed that a cyber security breach has occurred at your place of employment, and nothing has happened, you may feel safe. Unfortunately, it can take months or even years before employees learn that their information has been used on the black market.
Pursuing a Claim for Compensation After a Data Breach in New Paltz, New York
When employers do not put enough resources and attention into preventing cyber attacks, their employees can be the victims. Personal information can fall into the wrong hands through a data breach or be misused because it is not kept confidential. New York employees have the right to pursue compensation when a data breach results in their personal information being disclosed. By pursuing a legal claim, you may be entitled to recover all the financial damages you have suffered due to the data breach.
For example, if you have had your identity stolen, you can pursue compensation for the damages associated with the theft. You may also be entitled to punitive damages if your employer knew about the breach and failed to take action to mitigate it. Damages may also include compensation for years of identity theft to monitor to protect you and alert you if any other fraudulent activity occurs. Discussing your case with an attorney will help you understand whether you have a valid legal claim for compensation and your case’s value.
Discuss Your Case with a New York Employment Attorney
A data breach is a serious issue that can negatively affect employees’ lives for months or even years after the breach happens. If your personal information was revealed in a data breach involving your employer, the experienced Attorneys at HKM Employment Attorneys are here to help. We have the knowledge and resources to thoroughly investigate your case, gather evidence, and hold your employer accountable for their negligence. Contact the New Paltz, New York, HKM Employment Attorneys to discuss how we can help you protect your rights.