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Biometric data case against senior living center settled


A putative class action lawsuit filed against a Chicago senior living center under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act has been settled for an undisclosed amount, according to a district court filing in the case.

The case, Cynthia Dixon v. The Washington and Jane Smith Community-Beverly et al., is one of about 200 cases that have been filed under the law, according to a defense attorney who is not directly involved in the case.

In January, the Illinois Supreme Court held in a unanimous opinion involving Six Flags Entertainment Corp. that plaintiffs can sue firms under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act for allegedly failing to properly notify people about their policies even if no actual harm is claimed.

In her lawsuit against the center, which was originally filed in state court, then moved to U.S. District Court in Chicago, Ms. Dixon charged the center had unlawfully collected, used, stored and disclosed her and the proposed class’ “sensitive and proprietary biometric data” in violation of the Illinois law.

According to the complaint, when employees are first hired by the center, they are required to have their fingerprints scanned by a Kronos Inc. fingerprint scanner to enroll them in its employee database.  Chelmsford, Mass.-based Kronos is also a defendant in the case.

The complaint said also Ms. Dixon was required to scan her fingerprints at the beginning and end of each workday.

The complaint charges the center did not inform its employees that it disclosed employees’ fingerprint data to the vendor; that it did not inform its employees of the purpose and duration for which it collects this data; that it did not obtain written releases from employees before collecting their fingerprints; and that it did not provide employees with a written, publicly available policy on the issue.

The case has been settled, according to a notice filed with the district court last Wednesday, with a hearing set for May 2.

Attorneys in the case could not immediately be reached for comment.

Walter J. Liszka, a senior shareholder with Wessels Sherman Joerg Liszka Laverty Seneczko P.C. in Chicago, who has defended employers in these cases, said, “If an employer does not have a written policy and an authorization from the employee allowing collection of biometric information, they have few if any defenses.”





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