The ICO has warned employees about potential consequences of illegally sharing the personal data they have access to as part of their job.

Its warning came after a recruitment manager was prosecuted and fined for illegally disclosing the personal information of job applicants to a third party employment agency.

According to the ICO, Stuart Franklin, 39, pleaded guilty to an offence under s55 of the Data Protection Act when he appeared at Birmingham Magistrates Court.

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Speaking after the case, ICO Head of Enforcement Steve Eckersley said: “Passing on other people’s personal information that you have access to as part of your job can often be against the law, unless you have their consent or valid grounds for doing so.

“We’re asking people to stop and think about the consequences before taking or sharing information illegally. Most people know it’s wrong but they don’t seem to realise it’s a criminal offence and they could face prosecution.

“What people might think is a minor mistake could lead to the loss of their job, a day in court and a fine.”

The court was told Franklin was employed by the data controller, HomeServe Membership Ltd, as a recruitment manager.

During his time at the Walsall-based domestic services company, he was found to have sent copies of 26 CVs containing the personal data of applicants seeking employment with HomeServe to an external recruitment firm, without a business need to do so.

The data controller was alerted to suspicious activity when it discovered that some candidates who had already applied for jobs directly to HomeServe were subsequently also submitted as applicants from the third party agency.

Franklin was fined £573 and ordered to pay costs of £364 and a victim surcharge of £57, totalling £994 to be paid within seven days.