Staff at Seagate are suing the company after a senior HR executive fell for a phishing scam earlier this year resulting in tax information on thousands of employees being exposed.
A class-action lawsuit was filed in July at Northern California District Court accusing Seagate of malpractice and a lack of regard for employees through negligent data management.
The scammers pretended to be Seagate CEO Stephen Luczo and simply requested the data, including tax codes, Social Security numbers and pay information, all of which can be used for identity fraud.
The suit suggested that Seagate engaged in "unfair" business practices, and that in many cases the partners and families of employees were directly affected by the leak.
"In order for the cyber criminals to have obtained employees' spouses' Social Security numbers, Seagate would have had to have disclosed more than just the Form W-2 data for employees," said the complaint.
"Seagate would have to have disclosed additional information, such as retirement fund or insurance beneficiary, that contained the personally identifiable information of third parties."
The company has disputed the claim and wants it thrown out, but the employees have demanded a full jury trial for damages and out-of-pocket expenses for internal and external victims.
Seagate has said that it's up to the complainants to prove Seagate's negligence, and that they'll have a job doing so.
This despite an email to employees after the incident in which the firm's chief financial officer said that the breach "was caused by human error and lack of vigilance, and could have been prevented", which sounds suspiciously like an acknowledgment of culpability.
Seagate has offered credit monitoring facilities to those affected, although some employees apparently get this in their benefits package anyway.
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