Puma North America faces a proposed class action that claims the footwear and apparel company has unlawfully collected, used and stored the biometric data of retail employees in Illinois without adhering to state law requirements.
The 14-page complaint claims Puma has run afoul of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) by requiring retail workers to scan their fingerprints for timekeeping purposes without first providing the employees with statutory disclosures as to the purpose and length of time for which their biometrics will be stored, among other specifics.
The suit alleges Puma has also unlawfully failed to disclose to Chicagoland employees a publicly available retention schedule and guidelines for the permanent destruction of their sensitive fingerprint data and obtain from the workers a written release authorizing the collection and capture of their fingerprints.
When Puma employees first begin their jobs, they are required to scan their fingerprints in the company’s time-tracking system as a means of authentication, the case relays. Although there are benefits to using fingerprints to track employees’ work time, with the convenience come serious privacy risks in that fingerprints cannot be changed or replaced, like a password, if stolen or compromised, the lawsuit says.
The case alleges that despite the BIPA’s strict requirements, not to mention the law’s passage 13 years ago, Puma “disregards its employees’ statutorily protected privacy rights” through its collection, storage and use of their fingerprint data.
According to the complaint, Puma’s BIPA non-disclosures become particularly troublesome in the event an employee goes elsewhere, in which case the retailer would nevertheless hold onto their biometric data.
“An employee who leaves the company does so without any knowledge of when their biometric identifiers will be removed from Puma’s database—or if they ever will be,” the suit reads.
Despite the fact that the plaintiff began and ended each workday by scanning her fingerprint, Puma never informed the employee or those similarly situated of the details surrounding its capture, use and storage of the information, the complaint claims.
Get class action lawsuit news sent to your inbox – sign up for ClassAction.org’s free weekly newsletter here.