Biometric Information Privacy Programs

Illinois’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) continues to be a problem for employers who are using biometric information such as palm readers or fingerprint timekeeping software.
This week, waste management company GFL Environmental Services USA Inc. (GFL) agreed to settle a proposed class action case filed by some of its employees alleging violation of BIPA.

The settlement amount of $200,000 provides for each class member to receive approximately $1,500 (minus fees). The suit was filed in April 2021 by a former GFL driver who alleged that the company obtained his palm print for timekeeping, but failed to obtain his consent.

BIPA generally requires companies to provide notice to individuals of the collection, use, disclosure and retention of biometric information. Many companies have been sued by employees for failure to follow the BIPA requirements when collecting biometric information for timekeeping purposes. Companies collecting biometric information from Illinois residents may wish to confirm that they have a Biometric Information Privacy Program in place.

Other states (as well as some cities and municipalities) have either implemented laws or are proposing bills considering similar requirements. The laws are changing rapidly since biometric information is highly sensitive and unique. Most of the laws and bills are similar to BIPA but, as always, when it comes to privacy laws, they are not identical.

If you are collecting biometric information from employees or customers, now is the time to consider developing and implementing a Biometric Information Privacy Program.