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Illegal opt-out firm in first regulator prosecution

3 April 2018

Illegal opt-out firm in first Regulator prosecution under Computer Misuse Act

Managers of a recruitment firm are accused of logging into the employee portal of their workplace pensions site to opt them out of auto-enrolment. They now face prosecution by The Pensions Regulator (TPR).

TPR is prosecuting national recruitment firm Workchain Ltd, as well as its directors and some senior staff on the suspicion that they illegally opted employees out of their pension scheme.

Workchain Ltd, formerly known as Smart Recruitment UK Ltd, is accused of logging into its workplace pension scheme’s online system using employees’ personal details, to terminate their membership of the scheme. TPR says this is contrary to the terms of use of the system, which requires employees to opt-out themselves.

Senior managers and directors have been charged with unauthorised access to a computer programme. This goes against section 1(1) of the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

Directors Phil Tong, 40 and Adam Hinkley, 39, both from Derbyshire are both being prosecuted. Alongside them are five other senior staff aged between 31 and 38 years.

This is the first time that TPR has launched prosecutions for this offence.

The defendants have been summoned to appear at Derby Magistrates’ Court on 7 June 2018.