Topgolf Settles Biometric Privacy Lawsuit

Walmart hit with class action under Illinois’ biometrics privacy law

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer July 19, 2021
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biometrics scan

​Biometric information privacy continues to be a risky area for employers—especially in Illinois.

The state's Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), passed in 2008, sets forth a number of rules about collecting, retaining and disclosing biometric identifiers and biometric information.

The law most commonly comes up in the employment context when employers require workers to clock in and clock out using hand or fingerprint scans, but facial recognition and thermal imaging software and other technologies also may be implicated.

We've rounded up articles and resources from SHRM Online and other outlets on the news.

Topgolf Settles

On June 22, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois approved a settlement agreement between entertainment company Topgolf and a class of former employees who claimed the company collected and disclosed their biometric data through a finger-scan timekeeping system in violation of BIPA. Topgolf denied the claims but agreed to a $2.6 million settlement with 2,600 plaintiffs.

The lawsuit against Topgolf alleged that the company failed to secure written consent from its workers before requiring them to scan their fingerprints to prove their identity when punching time clocks at the beginning and end of each work shift.

(Cook County Record)

Walmart in the Dock

Earlier this month, a former Walmart fulfillment center employee filed a class-action suit alleging that the retailer violated state law by requiring employees to use voice recognition software to track their work.

(Cook County Record)

Biometric Class Actions in Illinois on the Rise

Hundreds of class-action lawsuits have been brought in recent years against employers for violations of BIPA, the strictest biometric law in the nation. Litigation invoking the law has grown consistently since 2016, attorneys said.

(SHRM Online)

Use of Biometric Authentication at Work Grows

Biometric authentication technology—including facial and voice recognition, and hand and iris scans—is now used in many workplaces for various security and business purposes such as employee access, according to a recent survey.

(SHRM Online)

Minimize Litigation Risks When Using Biometric Data

Employers can implement several best practices to minimize the risk of becoming embroiled in litigation stemming from the use of workers' biometric data.

(SHRM Online)

States Ban Employers from Microchipping Workers

Eleven states prohibit employers from requiring job seekers or employees to have devices such as microchips or radio frequency identification device tags implanted into their bodies as a condition of employment.

(SHRM Online)

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