The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) may have suffered a data breach after the names of 120 employees locked in a pay complaint against the organisation were exposed at an employment tribunal.
The compromised document lists female workers at the BBC who had attached their names to a letter sent by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in a bid to tackle unequal pay rates at the institution.
The unredacted document fell into the hands of members of the public and press over the course of a hearing included within the delivery of supporting evidence.
Denying responsibility for the data breach, a spokesperson for the BBC said:
“This is a NUJ document making a complaint on behalf of the members named; it was included in the claimant’s disclosure and annexed to a letter referred to specifically in the evidence of the NUJ witness.”
“At the request of the claimant’s solicitors it was included in the bundle of legal papers that were made publicly available following evidence sessions in the court. It is fundamentally wrong to describe the NUJ’s evidence as a BBC mistake,” they added.
A spokesperson for the NUJ responded, saying:
“It is very concerning that the names of individuals who made a group complaint via the NUJ to the BBC were included in the bundle prepared by the BBC,” a spokesperson said.
“Whilst the collective grievance was referenced in the NUJ’s evidence to the tribunal, the names of BBC employees were not and should have been redacted.”
Employees whose details were on the list were emailed by the BBC this week, to receive news that their private and personal details, along with pay grades in some instances, had been made public.
The tribunal is the first major pay equality legal case since the BBC’s gender pay policies came under fire two years ago when news broke that just one female was on its top 10 highest-paid list of workers.
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