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Employers Increasingly Targets of Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act Lawsuits

By Nadine C. Abrahams, Jody Kahn Mason, Sean C. Herring and Joseph J. Lazzarotti
  • September 15, 2017

Although the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act has been the law in Illinois since 2008, in the past year, there have been at least 12 class actions filed against employers in Illinois state and federal courts seeking to redress alleged violations of the Act.

With recent advances in technology, the use of biometric data has rapidly become integral to the operation of many companies incorporating the use of biometric data into all facets of their businesses. Examples include the use of fingerprint scans with time-management software, facial recognition scans for marketing purposes, and retina scans to gain access to secured facilities. While the use of these technologies undoubtedly provides companies such benefits as heightened accuracy and security, it also comes with the potential for significant legal liability if not implemented correctly.

The Biometric Information Privacy Act has recently become the source of increased scrutiny by plaintiffs’ attorneys. With liquidated damages ranging from $1,000 for each violation for negligent violations of the Act, to $5,000 for each violation for reckless violations — plus attorneys’ fees and costs — the potential liability for failure to comply with the Act could be catastrophic.

The Act requires companies that collect and use biometric information to obtain a written release prior to collecting such data. The Act also has requirements related to the protection, use, and destruction of biometric information. Although the Act’s requirements are strict, companies can take steps to protect themselves. Our FAQs provide basic information on the Act and include recommendations and best practices for companies that collect or use biometric information.

If you have questions about whether your company’s practices comply with applicable law, do not hesitate to contact the Jackson Lewis attorneys listed with this article.

©2017 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Reproduction of this material in whole or in part is prohibited without the express prior written consent of Jackson Lewis P.C., a law firm with more than 900 attorneys in major cities nationwide serving clients across a wide range of practices and industries. Having built its reputation on providing premier workplace law representation to management, the firm has grown to include leading practices in the areas of government relations, healthcare and sports law. For more information, visit www.jacksonlewis.com.

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