Ex-AA mechanic wins €5k for data breach after caught pruning tree on sick leave

AA Ireland denied possessing the video after dismissal

Ex-AA mechanic wins €5k for data breach after caught pruning tree on sick leave

A former AA mechanic, Philip McCabe, has been awarded €5,500 in damages after he was filmed pruning a tree while on sick leave. The judge ruled this constituted a breach of his data privacy rights.

While recovering from a knee injury, Mr. McCabe noticed a car parked across the street from his mother-in-law’s house. Upon approaching the vehicle, he discovered it contained senior AA management, Adam Staunton, was filming him.

Mr. McCabe was suspended with pay the following day and subsequently dismissed after a disciplinary hearing. He appealed the decision unsuccessfully but later settled a separate case regarding his dismissal through the Workplace Relations Commission.

In his lawsuit against AA Ireland Ltd., Mr. McCabe argued that the filming breached his data protection rights under GDPR and Irish law. He claimed the video was collected and used for surveillance purposes without his knowledge or consent.

AA Ireland denied possessing the video, stating it was deleted by Mr. Staunton. However, the judge noted a lack of sworn testimony from Mr. Staunton regarding the video’s deletion.

Judge O’Brien found in favor of Mr. McCabe, awarding him €5,500 for the data breach and declaring AA Ireland Ltd. in violation of his data privacy rights. The judge also ordered AA Ireland to explain the deletion of the video, highlighting the potential impact on Mr. McCabe’s ability to defend himself during the disciplinary proceedings.

Source: Irish Independent

1 Comment

  1. I own a specialist vehicle manufacturer business on private property and the manufacturer entered the property and took photographs of our building, saw me approach him and drove off, unknown to him it was a dead end, so I waited for him to return. I stopped him and asked him what he though he was doing, he tried to deny he was from the manufacturer but the business car on the passenger seat was a bit of a giveaway so told him to delete the photos. He said he had. However, we were contacted by solicitors acting for the manufacturer telling us to revise the wording on our website and to remove the manufacturer’s name from the front of our building. I asked how they knew we had their name on the front of our building, we have a photograph they said. So I related the above to them and reminded them that they were acting illegally, and that they represented the legal profession. Whoops! Anyway, we did as they asked and [slightly] changed the manufacturer’s name typeface. All was good. And, as an independent, we are doing work for this manufacturer helping them develop a parts ordering system!


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