Blommer Chocolate Company has improperly collected workers’ fingerprint scans without first providing proper disclosures or securing permission to do so, a proposed class action claims.
Filed in Cook County, Illinois Circuit Court, the lawsuit alleges Blommer, a major chocolate and cocoa products producer, failed to comply with the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) before collecting, storing and using workers’ fingerprints, or “biometric identifiers,” for timekeeping purposes.
More specifically, the lawsuit claims the Chicago factory operator failed to:
Properly inform workers in writing of the specific purpose and length of time for which their fingerprints were being collected, stored and used;
Provide a publicly available retention schedule and guidelines for the permanent destruction of the workers’ biometric data;
Obtain a written release from employees to collect, store, disseminate or otherwise use their fingerprints; and
Obtain consent from the workers to disclose, redisclose or otherwise disseminate their fingerprints to a third party.
The plaintiff says he worked at the defendant’s Chicago facility as a refinery operator between 2017 and 2019. Per the case, the plaintiff was required to scan his fingerprint when clocking in and out for each shift yet was never properly informed of the defendant’s policies or intentions and never provided written consent allowing for the collection of his sensitive biometric information.
According to the case, the defendant’s failure to comply with the BIPA has exposed workers to “serious and irreversible privacy risks” given fingerprints cannot be changed or replaced if stolen or compromised.
The lawsuit looks to represent anyone whose biometrics were captured, collected, obtained, stored or used by Blommer Chocolate Company in Illinois during the applicable limitations period.
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