Can I sue my previous employer if they gave out W-2’s to a unknown person?

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Can I sue my previous employer if they gave out W-2’s to a unknown person?

I received email from my previous job. They gave out everyone W2 forms to a

unknown person. The mistake made was they thought it was the owner of the company asking for the W2. They are paying for life lock for 2 years. The problem is the information is out there and can he checked or used at any given time for the rest of my life.

Asked on February 21, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The law does not provide compensation for hypothetical or potential losses--only for provable actual ones. It doesn't matter if the information "can be...used at any given time for the rest of my life"--there are many negative things that could happen over a lifetime, but the courts do not provide compensation for what might, but also might not, occur. You may be able to sue for the cost of your two-year life lock, since that is a cost you can prove and is a reasonable cost, to monitor the situation, etc. for a finite time (and that's the other thing: the courts will not provide compensation for unreasonable or excessive precaustions, like lifetime monitoring), but whether that's economically worthwhile doing is a different story.


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