Appropriate Compensation for Violation of Privacy Act


Q & A Session – Appropriate Compensation for Violation of Privacy Act

Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


If the 1974 privacy act is violated during an internal investigation of a staff member, what is the appropriate monetary compensation?


A civil action can be filed in federal court for some violations of the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552(a). if the violation is established, the plaintiff is entitled to actual damages, which are set at a minimum of $1,000, and attorneys fees.


Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.


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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to

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