Many employers require that their employees “clock in” and “clock out” of a shift by using private “biometric identifiers,” such as fingerprints or facial recognition. But this practice often puts an employee’s sensitive information at risk. If a person’s social security number is stolen, he or she can get a different number. But if someone steals their fingerprints or other biometric information, they cannot simply replace this information.
This is why the state of Illinois passed a law in 2008 called the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. This law doesn’t prohibit employers from asking employees to use their private biometric information for time-keeping or other purposes, but it does require that they first follow certain steps. And it requires that the company pay each employee damages for violations.
For example, an employer must first make available a written policy setting forth a retention schedule and guidelines for the destruction of the biometric information. It also provides that the employer must inform its employees about the collection of this information and obtain their written consent. The law requires employers to compensate employees if they violate it.
Many employers in Illinois fail to follow these clear and important requirements. This means that an employee likely has no idea how his or her private biometric information is being stored or retained, or what happens to it after he or she leaves the company. Similarly, he or she is likely left unaware of what happens to this sensitive information if the company is sold or dissolves. Employees have the right to know how their biometric information is stored and retained, and that it will remain secure. And they are entitled to money if the company violated this law.
The Law Office of Richard S. Cornfeld, LLC has filed a lawsuit on behalf of employees who worked for Innovative Heights Fairview Heights, LLC at its Sky Zone facility in Fairview Heights, Illinois, and were forced to scan their fingerprints for time-keeping and other purposes without receiving the protections set forth in the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. Click on this link to see a copy of the Complaint, Stauffer v. Innovative Heights Fairview Heights, LLC. If you have been required to give a company your private biometric information and believe that company has not complied with its requirements under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, please contact us. There is no charge or obligation for discussing these issues, reviewing your information, or answering your questions.