The largest federal employees union has filed a class action lawsuit against the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) following the massive data breach that may have exposed personal information on as many as 18 million current and former government workers. The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court. OPM Director Katherine Archuleta, OPM Chief Information Officer Donna Seymour, and background check contractor KeyPoint Management Systems are named as Defendants. The lawsuit claims the breach caused financial and emotional harm to government workers. AFGE officials had this to say in a written statement:
AFGE will not sit idly by while OPM fails to comply with the most basic requests for information or provide an adequate response. Even after this historic security breach, OPM has continued to use poor data security practices and inferior private-sector strategies to solve its security woes. Since 2007, officials at OPM have been alerted to their lackluster data security policies and protocols and failed to take appropriate steps to safeguard the information. Although they were forewarned about the potential catastrophe that government employees faced, OPM’s data security got worse rather than better.
OPM announced earlier this month that information on as many as 4 million former and current government employees could have been compromised in the cyber breach that’s been traced to Chinese hackers. Reports later surfaced that because information used during background checks has also been compromised, as many as 18 million people may be affected by the hack. AFGE’s lawsuit asks the District Court of the District of Columbia to consider a motion to certify all 4.2 million – and possibly more – affected employees and retirees be treated as a class.
The suit seeks damages including claims for out-of-pocket expenses related to replacing credit cards, closing bank accounts and additional credit monitoring other than what has been provided. If the court certifies the class-action, employees would automatically be added and not have to sign up to join.
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