Five Guys faces a proposed class action over its allegedly unlawful collection and retention of Illinois employees’ fingerprints.
According to the 17-page case, Five Guys employees must scan their fingerprints to log in and out of the fast-food restaurant’s time clock system. The suit charges that this practice violates the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) because Five Guys has failed to obtain express written consent and issue certain disclosures before storing and collecting sensitive biometric data.
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The complaint explains that the BIPA is a state law that regulates a private company’s use of residents’ biometric data, which includes retina or iris scans, fingerprints, voiceprints, and scans of hand or face geometry. Per the suit, Five Guys has run afoul of the privacy law by failing to obtain consent in the form of a written release before collecting, using, modifying, selling or storing employees’ biometric data. The company also never informed workers in writing of the specific purpose and length of time for which their biometric information is being collected, stored or used, the filing claims.
The lawsuit further charges that Five Guys failed to publish a publicly available written retention schedule and guidelines for permanently destroying employees’ biometric data, as mandated by the BIPA. The filing alleges that Five Guys does not comply with the BIPA’s retention-and-destruction policy since it holds onto workers’ fingerprints long after the initial purpose for obtaining such information has been satisfied and for over three years after an individual’s last interaction with the company.
Although the use of consumers’ biometrics by private sector companies is growing, the full ramifications of this technology are not fully known, the case stresses. The BIPA was enacted in 2008 to protect Illinois citizens’ right to privacy and control over their biometric information, the suit explains.
The lawsuit seeks to represent all current and former Five Guys employees in Illinois who had their biometric information and/or biometric identifiers collected, captured and otherwise obtained by the company’s fingerprint and/or thumbprint-based time clock technology within the past five years.
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