Illinois KFC Restaurants Scanned Workers’ Fingerprints Without Authorization, Class Action Claims
by Erin Shaak
English et al. v. EYM Chicken of Illinois, LLC
Filed: September 30, 2022 ◆§ 3:22-cv-03202
A lawsuit claims KFC restaurants in Illinois have unlawfully scanned employees’ fingerprints without providing required disclosures or obtaining consent.
A proposed class action claims the owner and operator of at least 20 Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants in Illinois has unlawfully scanned employees’ fingerprints for timekeeping purposes without providing required disclosures or obtaining consent.
The 15-page lawsuit alleges that EYM Chicken of Illinois, LLC has exposed its workers to “serious and irreversible privacy risks” by failing to comply with the strict requirements of a state privacy law meant to protect residents from the unauthorized use of their sensitive biometric information.
Per the case, the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) mandates that companies who collect and use residents’ biometric data—i.e., fingerprints, iris and retina scans, voiceprints, and scans of hand and face geometry—must first disclose in writing certain information about how the data will be used and for how long. The company must also obtain written consent before using or disclosing the data, the suit relays.
The lawsuit argues, however, that EYM Chicken has unlawfully required employees to scan their fingerprints when clocking in and out of the KFC restaurants’ timekeeping system without satisfying the BIPA’s disclosure and consent requirements.
The case more specifically claims the defendant has violated the BIPA by failing to:
- Inform workers in writing that their fingerprints will be collected and stored;
- Inform workers in writing of the purpose and length of term for which their data will be collected, stored and used;
- Receive a written release from employees authorizing the collection of their biometric information; and
- Publish publicly available retention guidelines for the destruction of workers’ biometric data.
Further, the suit claims EYM Chicken has unlawfully disclosed workers’ fingerprint data to unauthorized third parties, such as data storage vendors and payroll service providers.
The four plaintiffs, each of whom worked for the defendant in Illinois, look to represent current and former employees of any KFC franchise owned or operated by EYM Chicken of Illinois who were enrolled in the biometric timekeeping system and used a biometric timeclock while working for the company in Illinois during the applicable statutory period.
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