Chicago area supermarket facing multiple lawsuits over employee fingerprint scanning

Chicagoland supermarket chain Mariano’s is facing multiple lawsuits that allege the company violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) by requiring employees to submit their biometrics data without consent, according to a report by Supermarket News.

Court records reveal that just one of the cases alone could result in $10 million in damages.

Mariano’s is a banner used by Kroger Co. subsidiary, Roundy’s Supermarkets Inc. Plaintiffs in individual class action cases, Norman Baron and Thomas Doporcyk, each claim that they and other employees were required to scan their fingerprints with a biometric time attendance device when they clocked in and out of a shift.

The lawsuits also allege that employees were never provided with a written explanation that detailed the purpose for the collection, a transparent retention schedule, a policy for deleting the data or a timeframe for how long they would need to submit fingerprints.

The plaintiffs also allege that the supermarket did not obtain their written consent to use their biometrics before it began the collection process, which is one of the key clauses detailed in the BIPA.

The co-defendants — Roundy’s and Kronos — deny that they violated the privacy law, according to court records.

Since the case is a class action suit, more than 10,000 Kroger Co. employees within Illinois who have used the Kronos time clock system may be eligible for restitution.

Late last month, Washington state passed a new law governing the collection and use of consumers’ biometric information, which experts view as a more business-friendly version of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) which could serve as the model for other state legislation.

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