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Employers Increasingly Targets of Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act Lawsuits

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.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2017

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About this Author

Nadine Abrahams, Jackson Lewis Law Firm, Chicago, Labor and Employment Litigation Attorney
Principal

Nadine Abrahams is a Principal in the Chicago, Illinois, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She represents management in employment cases in federal and state courts and before administrative agencies, and she is Co-Leader of the firm's General Employment Litigation practice group.

Prior to joining Jackson Lewis, Ms. Abrahams was a partner with another prominent national labor and employment firm. She previously was Senior Counsel for the Employment Litigation Division of the City of Chicago Law Department. She has been based in...

312-803-2512
Jody Mason, Employment Law Litigator, Employer Attorney, Jackson Lewis, Chicago Law Firm
Principal

Jody Kahn Mason is a Principal in the Chicago, Illinois, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She is an experienced employment law litigator and defends employers before federal and state courts and administrative agencies throughout the midwest.

Ms. Mason handles all types of single plaintiff and class action employment litigation, including claims of discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation, and matters arising under Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA). Additionally, Ms. Mason routinely counsels employers regarding a multitude of labor and employment issues such as reductions in force, employee handbooks, personnel policies, internal investigations, separation agreements and employee leaves of absence. Ms. Mason also has substantial experience both defending and prosecuting cases involving the enforcement of restrictive covenants and claims of misappropriation of trade secrets. In addition, Ms. Mason regularly conducts EEO training on a variety of topics.

312-803-2535
Sean Herring, Jackson Lewis Law Firm, Chicago, Labor and Employment Litigation Attorney
Principal

Sean C. Herring is a Principal in the Chicago, Illinois, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. His practice focuses on employment litigation and counseling matters.

Mr. Herring defends employers before federal and state courts and administrative agencies throughout the country. He has extensive experience as a litigator representing a wide range of clients, from major corporations, higher education institutions, national hotel chains, banks, and franchise restaurants to small and local businesses, in employment litigation matters,...

312-803-2531
Principal

Joseph J. Lazzarotti is a Principal in the Morristown, New Jersey, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He founded and currently helps to co-lead the firm's Privacy, e-Communication and Data Security Practice, edits the firm’s Privacy Blog, and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) with the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

In short, his practice focuses on the matrix of laws governing the privacy, security and management of data, as well as the impact and regulation of social media. He also...

973- 538-6890