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Lawsuit alleges supermarket chain violated Illinois’ biometrics info privacy law

Employees at Roundy’s Supermarkets, Inc. have filed a class action suit alleging that the supermarket chain violated Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), according to a report by HRDive.

The lawsuit claims the company’s practice of obtaining and storing employees’ fingerprints for timekeeping purposes does not meet adhere to the state’s BIPA requirements.

Illinois’ BIPA requires employers to notify workers that their biometric data is being collected and retained, inform workers in writing the purpose and timeframe of collecting data, and receive the written permission of workers to collect biometric data.

Each plaintiff in BIPA cases could recover the greater amount of damages or $1,000 for negligent violations of the law, while intentional violations of the law could result in damages of $5,000.

Several states in the United States are looking to adopt Illinois’ biometrics privacy law as more organizations deploy biometric technology in various applications, and as the courts continue to figure out the potentially costly effects of the law’s mandates on businesses.

Texas already has a similar law to BIPA, but without a private right of action clause. Several other states including New Hampshire, Alaska, Washington and Montana, are currently in the process of passing laws that protect biometric information.

Considering that many states are looking to pass similar legislation, employers using or considering the use of biometric data in a workplace environment should ensure compliance with any state or local laws governing the use, storage and elimination of that data.

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