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Accidentally shared salary details

Accidentally shared salary details with another employee in same roll

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Yesterday I accidentally emailed a salary breakdown for one employee to another employee in the same role.  Our company email signature states that all information is confidential and for the addressee only, and when employee A wrote to me saying "I've just seen B's salary" I wrote back apologising and reminded him it was confidential.

Employee A has since written to his manager informing him that I showed him B's salary and asking for more money.  I'd given his manager the heads up.

My question is, do I need to do anything else?  Do I need to inform B of the error?  Should any action be taken against A for using the information he knew he'd received in error, or against me for the mistake?

Very worried here, would appreciate any info.

Replies (9)

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By memyself-eye
25th Nov 2017 11:04

It's a mistake, could happen to anyone but it's up to his (and possibly your) manager to sort it out.

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By andy.partridge
25th Nov 2017 11:41

Well it's good that you are worried, it shows you care and that you feel you have, momentarily, fallen short of your high standards. But don't be too worried and don't let it spoil your weekend.

Employees have ways of finding out about how much others earn. They talk to each other. Employee A will, ultimately, only get paid what the company thinks he is worth. I think, though, only raising it with his manager on the basis of receiving confidential information is weak of him. Either he was happy with his pay or he was unhappy and should have been approaching his manager about it anyway.

I think you are probably right that employee B, a wholly innocent party, has been disadvantaged. He (or she) should be informed, but not by you first, but by his manager. Thereafter you could drop him a brief email expressing your own apology.

Overall, you seem to have responded well to the mini-crisis. Don't make a bigger thing of it than it is. Keep your head down and it will quickly blow over. In the unlikely event that a storm is created it says rather more about the character of Employee A than yourself.

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By CoastalAcc
27th Nov 2017 10:25

It happens, a few years ago I had all the pay details emailed to me! That was interesting, and very annoying.

Oh well life goes on.

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By mrme89
27th Nov 2017 11:10

If you show A's salary to B, the world will realign and all will be well again.

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By Chris Smail
27th Nov 2017 11:35

I think that this may be a Data Protection Breach. Make sure your Data Protection Officer knows. If that is you then you should have either done some training or have advice on tap.

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By Alex_T
27th Nov 2017 13:38

Easy for me to say I know but try not to worry. You have done everything right since the mistake was made, it is now up to this employee's manager to smooth things over.

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By Alonicus
30th Nov 2017 11:58

If both employees are in the same role, it may (for your own peace of mind, if nothing else) be worth discussing with their managers why the pay rates are different.

There is anti-discrimination legislation in place covering this, but it does make allowances for such things as annual pay increments based on length of service, the impact of performance reviews (provided, of course, that these in turn are conducted in a manner which is objective and non-discriminatory).

After that, if A wants more pay, it's up to them to show the company they are as good as B !

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Portia profile image
By Portia Nina Levin
30th Nov 2017 12:11

About this roll. Were you the only two ingredients?

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By aburt01
30th Nov 2017 13:22

Hi. Yes, data protection breach. I'm not sure why we are still using email to send personal data?? I thought we all agreed regular email is unsafe for such details to be sent that way. Secure email is an option.

Check you have satisfied your data protection policy, if there is one. So you will then know if it needs reporting to I.C.O.

Quote from I.C.O....
"Under the Data Protection Act, although there is no legal obligation on data controllers to report breaches of security, many choose to do so and we believe that serious breaches should be reported to the ICO.

Notification of personal data breaches will become mandatory when the General Data Protection Regulation comes into force from 25 May 2018."

If this happened June 2018, someone will definitely be talking to I.C.O. to explain why this happened and why email was used.

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