How do Employees Know if Illinois Employers Violated Their Biometric Privacy Rights?

Fingerprint scanning

It has become more and more common for Illinois employers to require their employees to supply their individual biometric data in order to perform their jobs. Biometric data is unique to each individual and can be gathered through fingerprint and/or hand scans, facial geometry scans, iris or retina scans, and voiceprints. The collection of such personal information has raised concerns about possible improper use.

What is the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act, also known as IBIPA or BIPA?

In order to protect Illinois workers from the potential for misuse and mishandling of their private biometric information, the Illinois legislature enacted the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act (IBIPA or BIPA). In 2008 this became the first biometric privacy regulation in the United States.

Under IBIPA, private companies that utilize biometric information from their employees must follow very strict rules. Employers are required to have a written policy, schedule, and guidelines in place that outlines the collection, retention, and destruction of the biometric data that is collected from their employees. Further, the Biometric Privacy Act requires that employers provide employees with advance disclosure of their policies and that they have explicit written consent from employees prior to the collection of such sensitive information. Even if the employee voluntarily allowed biometric data to be collected, the Illinois employer cannot legally use or store it without the employee's written consent.

What happens if Illinois employers violate the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act regulations?

IBIPA is one of the only laws of its kind that allows employees to bring a lawsuit against an employer that fails to obtain written permission before collecting biometric data from its workers.

Employers who are not in compliance with IBIPA’s rules can be sued by employees for violations. Each violation against a single employee can result in the recovery of $1,000 in damages if the behavior was unintentional. If it is found that an Illinois employer willfully and recklessly violated IBIPA regulations, each employee could receive up to $5,000 in damages per instance.

Since IBIPA was introduced, hundreds of thousands of workers have pursued legal action against their employers for improper collection, use, and disposal of biometric data. Many of these cases are filed as class action lawsuits because infractions are usually company-wide and can affect thousands of employees over the weeks, months, and even years of violations.

What can employees do if they are concerned about the collection of their biometric information?

USA Employment Lawyers are ready to help any employee who believes that their biometric privacy rights have been violated or were fired for refusing to submit it. Fight back to protect your rights and privacy!

Get in touch with us today by calling (800) 483-0998 or by filling out our online contact form.

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