Employees who lose confidential work data may be dismissed from their jobs if they are convicted of gross negligence, according to an insurance company.

A survey by Allianz revealed one fifth of employees say confidential information is lost from their workplace in ways such as the use of portable devices.

Research conducted by the Home Office showed three-quarters of employees felt their employer should be doing more to prevent leakage of private information.

David Vine, from Allianz Legal Protection, said training staff in data handling can secure the trust of customers and limit the risk to a company’s reputation.

"Loss of data is taken extremely seriously and can have a disastrous affect on the interests of both the employee and company involved," he added.

The survey also showed half of employees thought their company expected data to be lost and private information to be leaked to a certain extent.

It has been recently been ruled the names and addresses of organisations involved in employment tribunals must be made public.