- Sandwich shop chain Pret a Manger has agreed to pay more than $677,000 to resolve a class action claim alleging its collection of Illinois employees' fingerprints violated state law. Nearly 800 workers are expected to share the award.
- The lawsuit alleged the employer collected and stored workers' fingerprints during onboarding and via its timekeeping system without the notice that the state's Biometric Information Privacy Act requires.
- A federal district court judge granted the settlement agreement preliminary approval Jan. 18 and scheduled a final approval hearing for May.
Illinois isn’t alone in legislating how employers use workers' biometric data, but BIPA has driven significant high-profile litigation and some multi-million dollar settlements from employers such as Walmart and TopGolf.
The law limits how employers can collect and store information such as fingerprints, face scans, retina scans, voiceprints and the like. It also sets out notice and consent requirements for employers that choose to use such information for tasks such as timekeeping or security access.
Employers subject to the law should consider whether less sensitive data could be used for such efforts, attorneys for Jackson Lewis recommended in an FAQ document. Companies that choose to use biometric information should develop and implement a plan for accessing, storing and safeguarding that data, they wrote.
Accommodations also may be necessary if an employee's disability or religion prevents them from offering the biometric data required, sources previously told HR Dive, adding that HR also should work to understand how any third-party administrators use employee biometric data.