Kansas residents who followed the Sony data breach in 2014 related to the film “The Interview” will now know that a federal judge ruled on June 15 that it would not throw out a lawsuit that had been filed by several former employees. The plaintiffs have alleged that the company was negligent in protecting employee data.
It is believed that the attack was carried out by North Korean hackers angry about Sony’s backing of the film. In addition to company data, hackers may have stolen passport and Social Security numbers, medical information, private emails, salary information and other sensitive data about employees. The employees are claiming that Sony was negligent because it did not maintain adequate security.
However, the California judge’s ruling did not deal with that aspect of the lawsuit, saying that the action can proceed without having proof of negligence. The judge did dismiss employee claims of breach of contract along with several other allegations.
A company that is facing lawsuits from employees or former employees may wish to seek legal counsel. In a case in which negligence is alleged, a business might want the assistance of an attorney to demonstrate that it took reasonable steps to protect employees. A company might also be accused of negligence if an employee or customer is injured on the premises, and the business might take a similar approach to its defense if it is unable to get the case dismissed. Another option for a business is settling out of court. This may be a desirable option if the company feels that the publicity from a court case might be negative. It might also allow the company to avoid admitting to any wrongdoing and may also allow the company to control the terms of the settlement.