A lawsuit that was filed by an employee against soft drink maker Keurig Dr. Pepper Inc. in Illinois that claims the company violated the state’s biometric privacy laws has been moved to a federal court at the request of the defendant.
The plaintiff for the case — Gio Villanueva, an employee of Dr. Pepper in the state of Illinois — filed the lawsuit against his employer claiming they didn’t seek the proper permission to scan employee fingerprints when clocking in and out of work in the state. If these accusations are true, they may violate the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) that says corporate entities can only obtain and store their employees biometric information when consent has been given to do so.
The case was moved to a federal court on October 31st, where Dr. Pepper hopes to see it dismissed on account of more stringent federal standards pertaining to plaintiffs requiring to show harm was done in order to sue. They are claiming that the case involves a question of labor arbitration, which is a federal issue. The federal court has the power to move it back to the state court should it decide to do so.
A number of lawsuits have been filed in recent months in the state of Illinois against corporations accused of having violated BIPA. Recently, both retail giant Wallgreens and the Rivers Casino have had lawsuits filed against them claiming they collected facial biometric data from patrons of their establishments in Illinois without their consent. Similarly, earlier this year big-box home improvement retailers Home Depot and Lowes had similar cases filed against them as a result of an anti-shoplifting initiative that used facial recognition.
Though some say that the pressure is on corporations to adhere to new laws in a changing landscape, others — including the attorney general of Illinois — are pushing to relax BIPA to lessen the impact and frequency of some of these lawsuits.
Source: Bloomberg Law
November 4, 2019 – by Tony Bitzionis