Family Dollar, Inc. and Dollar Tree, Inc. face a proposed class action over their alleged practice of scanning workers’ fingerprints without providing statutory disclosures or obtaining written consent to do so.
The lawsuit out of Cook County Circuit Court claims the defendants have violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), a law designed to protect state residents from the unauthorized use of their biometrics, such as fingerprints, by private entities.
According to the lawsuit, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree have collected Illinois workers’ fingerprints for timekeeping purposes without first disclosing in writing their intent to collect employees’ biometrics and the specific purpose and length of time for which the information would be collected. Moreover, the suit says the defendants have failed to obtain the workers’ informed written consent or an executed release to collect their information, and to provide a publicly available retention schedule or guidelines for the permanent destruction of the data.
The lawsuit claims these requirements, set under the BIPA, were enacted to address the “very serious need [for] protections for the citizens of Illinois when it [comes to their] biometric information.” Per the case, the defendants operate more than 100 stores in the state where workers’ biometric information has been unlawfully collected.
The plaintiff says she worked as an hourly employee at the defendants’ Chicago Heights Family Dollar location from January to June 2017. While the plaintiff was typically required to scan her fingerprint four times per day—to clock in for work, clock out for her break, clock in from her break, and clock out from work—she was never informed by Family Dollar of the purpose and length of term for which the information was being collected, nor did she ever provide written consent to such, according to the case. Moreover, the plaintiff and other employees were not provided with a publicly available retention schedule outlining when the data would be destroyed after the termination of their employment. Accordingly, the plaintiff is unaware of “what Defendants have done with her biometrics,” the case attests.
The plaintiff looks to represent anyone whose biometric information was scanned in the course of their employment at a Family Dollar or Dollar Tree store in Illinois.
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