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Method Products Biometrics Used for Timekeeping Illinois BIPA Class Action

Method Products, PBC has a location in Illinois where the complaint for this class action alleges that employees had to have their fingerprint or fingerprints scanned by a biometric device for timekeeping purposes. The complaint claims that Method, in its process of collecting, using, and storing the fingerprints, fails to fulfill the requirements of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

The class for this action is all persons who were enrolled in the biometric timekeeping system and subsequently used a biometric timeclock while employed with Method in Illinois during the applicable statutory period.

The plaintiff in this case, Steven Horn, worked for Method at its Illinois location. He was required to clock in and out for his workdays and his lunches by scanning his fingerprint with a timeclock device.

Fingerprints and other biometric identifiers, the complaint says, are different from other forms of identification: “Unlike ID badges or time cards—which can be changed or replaced if stolen or compromised—biometrics are unique, permanent biometric identifiers associated with each employee.” This fact, it says, “exposes [Method’s] employees … to serious and irreversible privacy risks.”

For example, if a person’s payment card number is stolen, the person can cancel it and get a new card with different numbers. But if a person’s fingerprint is stolen, the person cannot get new fingers with different prints. The complaint alleges that an illegal market already exists for biometric data and that thieves have already targeted Aadhaar, the largest biometric database in the world, which contains the information of over a billion people in India.

Illinois recognized the problems of using biometrics for identification early on and passed BIPA to begin to regulate how biometrics are collected, used, and stored. But the complaint alleges that Method did not meet the requirements of the law.

How did Method violate the law? The complaint makes a number of allegations:

  • Method did not tell the subjects in writing “of the specific purpose and length of time for which their fingerprint(s) were being collected, stored, disseminated and used…”
  • Method did not receive a written release from the subjects “to collect, store, disseminate or otherwise use their fingerprint(s)…”
  • Method did not obtain consent from the subjects “to disclose, redisclose, or otherwise disseminate their biometric identifiers and/or biometric information to a third party…”
  • Method did not provide “a publicly available retention schedule and guidelines for permanently destroying … fingerprint(s)…”

Also, the complaint says, the subjects “are aggrieved by [Method’s] failure to destroy their biometric data when the initial purpose for collecting or obtaining such data has been satisfied or within three years of employees’ last interactions with the company.”

The complaint alleges that the Illinois Legislature enacted BIPA in part because of “the unknown ramifications of biometric technology.”

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Privacy

Most Recent Case Event

Method Products Biometrics Used for Timekeeping Illinois BIPA Complaint

October 21, 2021

Method Products, PBC has a location in Illinois where the complaint for this class action alleges that employees had to have their fingerprint or fingerprints scanned by a biometric device for timekeeping purposes. The complaint claims that Method, in its process of collecting, using, and storing the fingerprints, fails to fulfill the requirements of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

Method Products Biometrics Used for Timekeeping Illinois BIPA Complaint

Case Event History

Method Products Biometrics Used for Timekeeping Illinois BIPA Complaint

October 21, 2021

Method Products, PBC has a location in Illinois where the complaint for this class action alleges that employees had to have their fingerprint or fingerprints scanned by a biometric device for timekeeping purposes. The complaint claims that Method, in its process of collecting, using, and storing the fingerprints, fails to fulfill the requirements of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

Method Products Biometrics Used for Timekeeping Illinois BIPA Complaint
Tags: Biometric Fingerprint Violations, Taking/Storing/Using Biometric Data, Your Privacy