A proposed class action alleges Method Products, PBC has violated an Illinois privacy law by scanning workers’ fingerprints without satisfying the state’s disclosure requirements for the collection of biometric data.
The case claims that the cleaning products manufacturer has collected workers’ biometric information, i.e., fingerprints, for timekeeping purposes without first providing certain disclosures concerning how the data would be used and when it would be destroyed. Moreover, Method Products has also failed to obtain from employees a written release to use their information, the lawsuit alleges, claiming the company’s failure to comply with the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) has exposed workers to “serious and irreversible privacy risks.”
The lawsuit relays that the Illinois legislature enacted the BIPA in 2008 in recognition of the “very serious need [for] protections for the citizens of Illinois when it [came to their] biometric information.” According to the suit, Method violated the privacy law by requiring workers to scan their fingerprints for timekeeping purposes without first:
Informing them in writing of the specific purpose and length of time for which their biometric data was being collected;
Publishing a publicly available retention schedule and guidelines for how and when the data would be destroyed;
Receiving a written release from each worker to collect, store, disseminate or use their fingerprints; and
Obtaining the workers’ consent to disclose their data to a third party.
The plaintiff claims he was required to scan his fingerprint each time he clocked in and out for work and, as a result, has thus “continuously and repeatedly been exposed to the risks and harmful conditions” caused by Method’s collection of his biometric data. Per the case, the BIPA safeguards Illinois citizens’ right to receive “extremely critical information” prior to a private entity collecting their highly sensitive data.
“BIPA protects employees like Plaintiff and the putative Class from this precise conduct, and Defendant had no right to secure this data,” the complaint reads.
The lawsuit, which was recently removed from Cook County Circuit Court to Illinois’s Northern District Court, looks to represent anyone who was enrolled in the defendant’s biometric timekeeping program and used a biometric timeclock while working for Method Products in Illinois during the applicable statute of limitations period.
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