The operators of Popeyes restaurants in Illinois have failed to provide proper disclosures and obtain written consent before scanning employees’ fingerprints for timekeeping purposes, a proposed class action alleges.
Per the case, defendants Restaurant Brands International, Inc. and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. have overstepped the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA)—a law intended to protect the security of state residents’ “biometrics identifiers”—by requiring workers to scan their fingerprints each time they clocked in and out of the restaurants’ timekeeping system without first making certain disclosures or obtaining written authorization to do so.
The lawsuit claims the defendants’ failure to adhere to the BIPA has exposed employees to serious privacy risks, especially if their unchangeable biometric data were to be compromised:
“If Defendants’ database of digitized fingerprints were to fall into the wrong hands, by data breach or otherwise, the employees to whom these sensitive and immutable biometric identifiers belong could have their identities stolen, among other serious issues.”
Nevertheless, the restaurant chain has fallen short of the BIPA’s three-prong disclosure and consent requirements, according to the suit. The case claims Popeyes has never adequately informed workers of its biometric data collection practices, obtained their written consent to collect and use their biometric information or published a publicly available retention schedule and guidelines for how the data would be permanently destroyed, all of which are mandatory under the BIPA.
Per the case, the defendants’ policy of scanning workers’ fingerprints for timekeeping purposes has been in place from at least September 2019 to January 2020.
The lawsuit looks to represent anyone who had their fingerprints “collected, captured, received or otherwise obtained and/or stored” by the defendants in Illinois.
Initially filed in Cook County, Illinois Circuit Court, the lawsuit was removed to the state’s Northern District Court on March 4, 2021.
Get class action lawsuit news sent to your inbox – sign up for ClassAction.org’s newsletter here.