OHM Concession Group is among four defendants facing litigation over alleged violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). The lawsuit, a proposed class action removed from Illinois circuit to district court, claims restaurant and concessions management companies OHM and OHM Chicago and their biometric technology providers Global Payments and Cross Match Technologies captured, stored, used, or otherwise disseminated employees’ biometric data—fingerprints—without obtaining proper consent to do so.
Highlighting the “grave privacy risks” associated with companies employing biometric technology as a means of cracking down on timekeeping fraud, the lawsuit explains the Illinois BIPA was enacted to address concerns about the collection, use, retention and dissemination of workers’ biometric identifiers. The law mandates that employers who collect biometric data inform employees in writing that their biometric data will be collected or stored and of the specific purpose and length of the term for which their biometric identifiers will be stored. Further, employers must receive a written release from the employee whose information will be collected, as well as publish a publicly available retention schedule for permanently destroying the data.
The defendants, the lawsuit alleges, failed to obtain informed written consent from OHM’s employees before capturing their biometric data. Moreover, the suit charges the defendants “failed to bargain honestly” with employees at the outset of their employment by failing to disclose “the unlawful nature of the timekeeping system in which they would be required to participate.”
“To the extent Defendants are still retaining Plaintiff’s biometrics, such retention is unlawful,” the suit alleges. “Plaintiff would not have provided her biometric data to Defendants had she known the same would remain with Defendants for an indefinite period or subject [sic] to unauthorized disclosure.”