Illinois Biometrics Privacy Act Litigation

Chicago BIPA Attorney

Helping Businesses With The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act

Individuals rely on biometric information to access their phone, home, and financial resources. Many cutting-edge businesses have sought to implement emerging biometric technologies to help secure their facilities, better manage employee resources and improve customer service and experiences.

What Is BIPA?

The state of Illinois’ unique Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) regulates the collection, use, and storage of biometric information since its enactment in 2008. The law applies to “private entities” of all types, including businesses collecting applicable information from their employees or even their customers.

Previously, an employee or employees could potentially pursue litigation if they felt they were injured as a result of BIPA-related mishandling of their biometric data. However, a recent Illinois Supreme Court decision in Rosenbach v. Six Flags Entertainment Corp. has dramatically heightened the potential for companies to face litigation from aggrieved employees and customers. Scroll down below to learn more.

At Kenny Law Firm, we are ready to defend businesses facing BIPA litigation. Contact us online or call (312) 647-2483 for a free consultation with a Chicago BIPA lawyer.

Features of The Biometric Information Privacy Act

The BIPA includes 5 basic features in regard to the use of biometric data:

  • Informed consent must be given prior to collecting data.
  • Allows for a limited right to disclosure.
  • Mandatory protection obligations and guidelines on retention.
  • No profiting from biometric data.
  • Rights for individuals harmed by BIPA violations

Penalties for Noncompliance With BIPA

BIPA carries stiff penalties for noncompliance. Any entity that deals with biometric information in any capacity must strictly adhere to the Act’s requirements. A prevailing party, according to the BIPA, is entitled to statutory damages of $1,000 per negligent violation and $5,000 per willful violation, or actual damages, whichever is greater, plus attorney fees, costs and any other appropriate relief.

The Kenny Law Firm can vigorously defend your business in litigation involving Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act. Our BIPA lawyers in Chicago are familiar with how these cases are adjudicated and can help you pursue legal strategies to limit or eliminate your exposure.

What Is Biometric Data For?

Many businesses use biometric data – which can range from fingerprint, hand scans, facial geometries, eye scans, and voiceprints, essentially any unique biometric data derived from the individual – to handle building or workstation security. Facial recognition software can also be used to spot security threats as well as track employee movements and work patterns.

Continue below to learn why your business should seek counsel from an experienced BIPA lawyer near you.

How Businesses Must Manage Biometric Data

BIPA mandates that companies cannot collect biometric information from their employees without giving notice, obtaining consent, and making certain disclosures. The company must articulate to its employees why they seek to collect their biometric data and what they hope to accomplish with it. The involved employees must also provide written consent to allow the collection, storage, and usage of their data.

Companies hoping to use employee biometric data must also create a policy document that outlines retention schedules and means of eventually destroying the data. Under no circumstances can a business sell employee biometric data without their express authorization, and companies are expected to institute security measures that reasonably protect the personal information in a manner that is at-minimum consistent with how they protect their intellectual property and trade secrets.

How To Stay Compliant With BIPA Requirements

The best you can do is ensure that you meet the requirements under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act before a lawsuit begins. Reach out to Chicago BIPA attorneys backed by years of experience or follow the tips below.

Tips on meeting BIPA requirements:

  • Limit what data is collected
  • In writing, inform employees that biometric data will be collected and/or stored
  • In writing, inform employees how long the biometric data will be stored and what it will be used for
  • Do not profit from the data
  • Have a plan for handling potential data breaches

A Recent Illinois Supreme Court Decision

Previously, BIPA was interpreted to give employees the right to pursue legal action against their employer if the company’s mishandling of biometric data or failure to follow BIPA’s requirements led to some measurable injury. Companies could be liable to pay damages for those injuries in addition to attorney fees and any injunctive relief ordered by the court. The Act allows for up to $1,000 in relief for negligent infractions and up to $5,000 for each reckless or deliberate infraction.

In 2019, Illinois Supreme Court case, Rosenbach v. Six Flags Entertainment Corp., dramatically changed the playing field and opened companies up to new risks. The case decided that potential plaintiffs, including an employee or group of employees could pursue legal action against a company in any situation where they violate any term of BIPA – even if the violation resulted in no material harm or injury.

In other words, any technical violation of BIPA’s rules – inadvertent or otherwise – could result in an employee or group of employees pursuing legal action against your company. This decision predictably opened a floodgate of class action lawsuits. Some BIPA litigation has posited that every single usage of a biometric datapoint constitutes a negligent infraction, meaning that a group of employees doing something as innocuous as scanning their fingerprints could lead to millions in potential damages.

If your business has ever gathered, used, or stored employee biometric data, there is a possibility you could at some point face legal action stemming from alleged BIPA violations. Our Chicago BIPA attorney at the Kenny Law Firm can provide the aggressive defense you need to overcome these litigious obstacles. Our firm understands how BIPA litigation continues to evolve and can leverage our hands-on knowledge to deliver the results your company needs.

If you have concerns about BIPA or suspect you may face imminent related legal action, call (312) 647-2483 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with a BIPA lawyer in Chicago.

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