As employers continue to seek more ways to efficiently run their businesses, they continue to turn to advances in technology. One of these methods is the collection of “biometric” information such as retina, iris, fingerprint, or facial scans. Employees will usually see this in the workplace in the form of time clocks that use the employees’ biometric information to record the time they work or to access secure areas or information for business purposes. Other entities with whom people interface in their daily lives also may collect biometric information.
For employers in Illinois, the use of these advancements comes with legal requirements to ensure this sensitive information about employees is not misused. Facebook learned this the hard way when it agreed to a tentative $550 million settlement for violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”). BIPA protects the use of biometric information, such a facial recognition in the Facebook case. BIPA requires that any entity – including employers — which collects biometric information must advise that: (a) the biometric information is going to be collected; (b) explain the reason it is being collected; (c) describe the length of time the biometric information will be stored and used; and (d) obtain a written release before collecting any biometric data or sharing the biometric data with a third party.
If an employer or other entity fails to follow these procedural requirements of BIPA, the employee whose biometric data was collected may still have a claim under BIPA — even without a specific injury or adverse effect. BIPA provides statutory damages up to $1,000 for each negligent violation of the act, and up to $5,000 for each intentional or reckless violation.
If you were employed in Illinois and your employer or other entity collected your biometric information, contact the Shavitz Law so we may evaluate your potential claim under BIPA. You can call us at 800-616-4800. We would be happy to assist you in a free consultation to discuss your employment concerns.
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Gregg Shavitz, Shavitz Law Group, 951 Yamato Rd Ste 285, Boca Raton, FL and 800 3rd Ave, Suite 2800, New York, NY. Lawyers licensed in states including FL, NY, NJ, and TX. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based on advertisements alone.