Class Action Lawsuit Against Home Depots Over Bookkeeping Scandal

A class action lawsuit against Home Depot was recently brought by a group of Home Depot customers who claim that the home improvement giant is guilty of spying on its customers and collecting personal information without their permission. Home Depot has counters by claiming that the surveillance programs in question are legitimate security measures designed to help prevent shoplifting and are legal. So, which is right?

According to class action lawsuit plaintiff Michael Beckwith, “The company’s claims about the legality of its data breach programs are simply not true.” According to Home Depot’s own website, data breach protection is used “to prevent employees from stealing,” and is not used to collect credit card numbers or other sensitive personal information. Further, according to the company’s privacy policy, data breach is defined as the unauthorized recording, obtaining, selling or distributing of confidential data or customer information. The company further claims that it will “not and cannot disclose” your private information to third parties.

Home Depot uses software to record and track what customers are doing on its web site, even though it is standing on customer s shoulder, and a recent class action lawsuit claims that the monitoring is not only highly invasive, but also dangerous. “I’m sure that all Home Depots computer systems have been breached in some way,” said Thomas Young, legal director for the Association of National Advertisers. “It would be surprising to find out that all systems have not been breached.”

To date, neither the company nor the attorney who is handling the case have presented any evidence that they monitor or track website activity. They have, however, provided evidence that the defendant did breach the data security of one of its systems. Last week, the company was sued by the conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, after an employee was accused of taking down and replacing anti-gay tweets with supportive words. The organization claims that this action forms a basis for their lawsuit. A representative of the foundation stated:

“The fact that the Home Depot computer system was compromised by an in-house employee’s negligence and inability to handle the personal information of customers, constitutes a clear case of privacy invasion,” said Pierson. He added that this lawsuit is “part of the ongoing trend” of companies targeting conservative groups and religious groups who disapprove of their hiring practices. Noting that similar lawsuits have targeted companies such as Hobby Lobby and Wheaton, he added that “cases such as these certainly demonstrate that the problems regarding religious liberty are present and serious.” Pierson also stated that the Home Depot’s CEO and general counsel did not sign any agreement or undertaking when it came to data security.

This is part of a series of lawsuits that Home Depot is facing as a result of its “shredding” of bookkeeping records. As previously reported, this particular breach left Home Depot with insufficient funds to cover expenses and resulted in the cancellation of several stores. The company has until next week to appeal the dismissal of its class-action lawsuit. The company is represented by the law firm of Morrison Roth & Lewis.

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