Lawsuits Filed Over Illegal Capture of Workers’ Fingerprints
Last Updated on January 5, 2018
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are no longer investigating this matter. The information here is for reference only. A list of open investigations and lawsuits can be viewed here.
At A Glance
- This Alert Affects:
- People in Illinois who use their fingerprints to clock in and out of work.
- What’s Going On?
- Dozens of companies in Illinois have been hit with class action lawsuits claiming they illegally collected and stored their employees’ fingerprints.
- How Could a Class Action Help?
- A class action lawsuit could provide between $1,000 – and, in rare cases, $5,000 – for each person who had their fingerprint captured illegally.
Dozens of class action lawsuits have been filed in Illinois claiming employers are illegally collecting and storing their employees’ fingerprints – and putting their workers at a heightened risk of identity theft. Read on for more.
What’s Going On, Exactly?
The lawsuits allege that companies are breaking a state law that was enacted specifically to protect the privacy of its citizens. Under this law – known as the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) – employers are supposed to take certain precautions before using their employees’ fingerprints.
Informing their employees in writing that their fingerprints are going to be collected or stored
Informing their employees in writing the reason why their fingerprints are being collected and for how long they will be stored
Collecting a signed release from their employees about the use of their fingerprints
The suits claim that some companies are not following these rules and exposing their workers “to serious and irreversible privacy risks” that the law was designed to avoid.
What’s worse is that some cases allege that the employers are illegally disclosing fingerprint data to the companies that supplied them with the fingerprint scanner. One lawsuit highlights the severity of sharing that data with third-party vendors; in 2007, one vendor of fingerprint timekeeping devices – Pay by Touch – went bankrupt. The suit notes that the bankruptcy of one of a vendor like this could put millions at risk of identify theft, as the fingerprint data could “be sold, distributed, or otherwise shared through the bankruptcy proceedings.”
How Could a Class Action Help?
A class action lawsuit could find that a company’s actions violate state law and order that they cease collecting fingerprints until they fall into compliance. Additionally, workers may be eligible to collect either $1,000 or $5,000 if their fingerprints were stored without proper notice and authorization.
What You Can Do
If you were never notified in writing that your fingerprints would be stored, you may be able to take legal action and collect $1,000 if it’s found that your employer illegally took your fingerprints.
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