Morrisons has lost its challenge to a High Court ruling that it is liable for a data breach which saw thousands of its employees’ details posted online.

The Court of Appeal has upheld the original decision against the supermarket, issued in December 2017.

Workers brought a claim against the company after employee Andrew Skelton stole the data, including salary and bank details, of nearly 100,000 staff.

According to BBC News, Morrisons has now said it will appeal to the Supreme Court.

The case is said to be the first data leak class action in the UK and follows a security breach in 2014 when Skelton, then a senior internal auditor at the retailer’s Bradford headquarters, leaked the payroll data of employees.

He posted the information – including names, addresses, bank account details and salaries – online and sent it to newspapers.

He was jailed for eight years in 2015 after being found guilty at Bradford Crown Court of fraud, securing unauthorised access to computer material and disclosing personal data.

Morrisons had argued that it could not be held liable for the criminal misuse of its data, the BBC reported.

However three Court of Appeal judges are reported to have rejected the company’s appeal, saying they agreed with the High Court’s earlier decision.

A statement from Morrisons shared by the BBC after the hearing states: “A former employee of Morrisons used his position to steal data about our colleagues and then place it on the internet and he’s been found guilty for his crimes.

“Morrisons has not been blamed by the courts for the way it protected colleagues’ data, but they have found that we are responsible for the actions of that former employee, even though his criminal actions were targeted at the company and our colleagues.

“Morrisons worked to get the data taken down quickly, provide protection for those colleagues and reassure them that they would not be financially disadvantaged. In fact, we are not aware that anybody suffered any direct financial loss.

“We believe we should not be held responsible, so that’s why we will now appeal to the Supreme Court.”

Food Management Today has contacted Morrisons for further comment and is currently awaiting a response.