Eagle Family Foods Fights Back in Alleged Unauthorized Biometric Data Collection Case
In Gates v. Eagle Family Foods in the Northern District of Illinois, Gregory Gates, a former sanitation and assembly line employee, alleges that Eagle Foods collected and retained his handprints without consent as part of his timekeeping requirements while he worked at the Waukegan facility in 2016 and 2018.
Eagle Family Foods (Eagle Foods) says the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act (BIPA) does not apply to Gates’s claims of improper handprint collection because he is a former employee. Of course, Gates’s counsel argues that BIPA would apply even if Gates were a third-party worker not directly employed by Eagle.
Eagle Foods also argues that it did not “actively collect” Gates’ handprints, which it maintains is a requirement for there to be a violation under BIPA. Again, however, Gates’s counsel contends that Eagle Foods is liable under BIPA because it collected Gates’s biometric information in violation of the statute, stating, “Nothing in BIPA suggests that only entities that ‘actively’ collect biometric identifiers and/or biometric information directly from individuals are obligated to comply.”
Gates also pushed back against Eagle Food’s claim that he did not adequately allege BIPA; Gates argues that his complaint asserts that Eagle Foods captured, collected, and stored his biometric information “no fewer than a dozen times.”