Suparossa Restaurant Group LLP, a Chicago-based restaurant company, has been served with a class action complaint alleging that the company has violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”). The BIPA is an informed consent statute that establishes standards for employers that collect and store the biometric information of Illinois citizens. The act makes it unlawful for a company to “collect, capture, purchase, receive through trade, or otherwise obtain a person’s or customer’s biometric identifiers or biometric information” without certain precautionary measures.

According to the plaintiffs, who filed the complaint on October 25, 2017 in the Circuit Court of Cook County, employees of Suparossa are required to scan their fingerprints and partial handprints as part of the restaurants’ time tracking and point of sale systems. The plaintiffs assert that Suparossa failed to inform them of the full extent of the purpose for which it collected their biometric data and to whom the data is disclosed, ultimately disregarding their privacy rights and exposing them to serious and irreversible privacy risks.

BIPA has been a source of scores of class action complaints during the past year alone, with each lawsuit serving as a cautionary tale for any companies doing business in Illinois or with Illinois residents.

Takeaway: While the use of biometric systems may enable employers to improve both the accuracy and efficiency of their ability to track employees, employers who implement these systems should take all precautions necessary to first seek informed consent from their employees to obtain their biometric information and to comply with any relevant laws regulating the practice.