Human resource departments throughout the country, including in California, are keeping tabs on a recent case in Illinois. In the lawsuit, a large clothing retailer is being sued by employees in Illinois for tracking them by improper means as well as improper collection of personal data. The case is currently waiting to see if it will be certified as a class action.
An Illinois statute is at the heart of the claim. The law prohibits the collection of biometric data from employees unless they consent, and the proper means to store the information is used. In this case, the suit alleges the company utilized a fingerprint time clock to which an employee must present a fingerprint ID to log in and out of work rather than utilizing a time card or picture ID. The company claims the employees did, in fact, consent to the use of the biometric time clock. It further claims that it does not retain the data collected, obviating the need to store it.
A biometric time clock is becoming popular among employers. Such a device uses a fingerprint or eye scanner for identification purposes. In some highly sophisticated systems, DNA scanning might be used. Some employers prefer the system because it prevents misuse of ID cards. It is difficult for one employee to log in for another.
The system is not without controversy. Some feel the method encroaches on the privacy of employees. Further, there are concerns about the dissemination of the biodata collected. For this reason, some states have developed standards for the collection and use of this type of information. Employees give up some rights when they join a company, but not all. Those who feel their rights have been infringed may seek the assistance of an experienced employment law attorney.
Source: Jezebel.com “H & M Is Being Sued for Keeping Track of Employees Using Their Fingerprints,” Hazel Cills, April 12, 2019