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Just Eat in the spotlight after delivery driver uses customer data to send inappropriate texts

19 January 2018

Just Eat are under the spotlight for a delivery driver using customer data to send inappropriate texts to a female customer. It is possible that the driver’s use of a customer’s personal data in this way will be determined to be a breach of the Data Protection Act.

To hear further comment on this story tune into BBC Radio Gloucestershire to listen to our head of employment law, Matthew Clayton’s interview. Click here to be taken to BBC Radio Glos iPlayer (listen in from 2:08:13). 

The issue of whether an employer can be held to be vicariously liable for an employee breaching data protection legislation was recently considered in Various Claimants v WM Morrisons Supermarkets PLC. The High Court was asked to determine if Morrisons was liable for a senior manager disclosing the personal information of around 100,000 colleagues online. (He also sent the information to three newspapers).

For an employer to be held liable for an act of its employee, there must be a sufficient connection between the employee’s employment and the wrongful conduct. Very often the court will look at factors such as whether the wrongful conduct occurred in the course of the employee’s employment. In the Morrisons case, the High Court held that it was liable for the act of the senior manager because it occurred in the normal course of his employment – this was despite his act being carried out on his own computer and outside of working hours. The court also held that Morrisons had itself breached the Data Protection Act by failing to organise the deletion of the data from the manager’s computer. (Morrisons have been granted the right to appeal this decision).

Whether Just Eat will be subject to further action following the driver using its customer’s details in this way, is at the time of writing unknown, but at the very least it is likely to warrant further investigation both by Just Eat internally and by the Information Commissioner.

Matthew heads our employment team. Matthew trained and worked at a City of London law firm. He handles the full range of employment law issues with specialisms in complex staff restructurings and employment issues concerning business transfers. Matthew is recommended by independent legal directory Chambers and Partners which describes him as ‘solutions-focused’ and ‘a solid and respected practitioner noted for his technical abilities’.  

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