Understanding Illinois Biometric Data Law

Biometric Data Law

What is biometric data, and how does it affect my employment?

Illinois is one of only three states that have a law in place that protects workers by strictly regulating the way employers use, store and protect biometric information like fingerprints, retina scans and facial recognition data. Employers use biometric data to monitor hours and attendance, restrict access to buildings or sensitive areas and ensure that only authorized personnel can use designated machinery and equipment. Most people have grown accustomed to biometric security checks on smartphones and other electronic devices, so they rarely protest when they find these measures being used in their workplaces.

The Biometric Information Privacy Act

Lawmakers in Illinois passed the Biometric Information Privacy Act in 2008. The BIPA is considered the most comprehensive biometric data security law in the country. Before employers in Illinois can collect or store this information, they must first tell employees how the data will be used and protected. Even then, they can only gather biometric data from employees who provide them with consent in writing. Employers are also required to have written policies in place that detail how long biometric data will be retained for and how it will be destroyed. BIPA prohibits employers from selling biometric data to third parties, and it requires them to protect this information with measures at least as rigorous as the protocols in place to safeguard other kinds of sensitive information.


If you work in Illinois and your employer violates BIPA, you will not have to prove that you suffered actual harm if you decide to pursue legal remedies. The law gives you a private right of action, and it entitles you to collect $1,000 in damages for each violation. If your employer acted recklessly or intentionally, that figure rises to $5,000 per BIPA violation. You will also be able to collect attorney fees if you can establish that your employer violated the law.

Experienced biometric data attorneys

If your biometric data is misused, your privacy could be violated, and you would become more vulnerable to crimes like identity theft. If you believe that your employer is not abiding by the regulations put into place by BIPA, the biometric data attorneys at USA Employment Lawyers can advocate on your behalf. We have considerable experience in this area, and we have litigated several BIPA cases.

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