Illinois Taco Bell Operator Scanned Workers’ Fingerprints Without Authorization, Lawsuit Alleges
by Erin Shaak
Robinson v. Shamrock TBC, Inc.
Filed: May 6, 2022 ◆§ 2022CH04364
A lawsuit claims Illinois Taco Bell restaurants unlawfully collected workers’ fingerprint scans without providing mandatory disclosures or obtaining their consent.
An employee of a Countryside, Illinois Taco Bell alleges in a proposed class action that the restaurant’s operator has unlawfully collected workers’ fingerprint scans without first providing mandatory disclosures or obtaining their consent to do so.
The 21-page case in Cook County Circuit Court claims that defendant Shamrock TBC, Inc., who operates Taco Bell restaurants throughout Illinois, including in the Chicagoland area, has run afoul of the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), a law designed to regulate how companies use consumers’ biometric information, such as fingerprints, retina and iris scans, and scans of hand and facial geometry.
According to the suit, Shamrock requires workers to scan their fingerprints into the restaurant’s timekeeping system as a means of authentication when they clock into and out of work. The case claims, however, that the defendant has violated the BIPA by failing to inform employees of the purpose and length of time for which their biometric data will be collected, and that their data will be disclosed to at least one third-party biometric timekeeping vendor and other third parties.
Moreover, the lawsuit says Shamrock has failed to obtain a written release from employees authorizing the use of their biometric information and publish a publicly available retention policy and guidelines establishing when the data will be destroyed—which the suit notes are both BIPA requirements.
The suit contends that Shamrock’s apparent failure to comply with the BIPA has exposed Taco Bell workers to “serious and irreversible privacy risks.”
The plaintiff looks to represent anyone who worked in Illinois and had their fingerprints or other biometric identifier or information collected, captured, received, otherwise obtained, maintained, stored or disclosed by Shamrock TBC within the applicable statute of limitations period.
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