Madison - St. Clair Record

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Long term care company accused of biometric privacy violations in suit, class action sought

State Court

By John Breslin | Nov 4, 2019


BELLEVILLE - A former employee of a southern Illinois long term care company is claiming her one time employer violated provisions of a biometric data privacy act.

Altamese Young, who worked at Belleville Behavioral Health and Nursing Center for five months this year, wants her case under the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) certified as a class action on behalf of an estimated 75 employees of the company.

The suit, filed Oct. 23 in St. Clair County Circuit Court, also names the center's parent company, Integrity Healthcare Communities as a defendant. The company would not comment on the complaint to the Record.

Young, a PRN, or short term health care employee of the company, states in the complaint that her hand was scanned when the started and finished work, and when in and out on lunch breaks.

"By requiring employees to scan their hands to record their time, instead of identification numbers or badges only, defendants ensured that one employee could not clock in for another," the complaint states. "Thus, there's no question that Defendants benefited from using a biometric time clock."

It is argued in the complaint that the use of biometrics places employees at risk because it is a "unique and permanent" identifier.

Illinois, recognizing those risks, including the potential for identify theft, enacted BIPA to restrict the collection, storage, use, or transfer of the data.

It is alleged the defendants violated BIPA by failing to provide the plaintiff with any written documents stating they were "collecting, retaining, or disseminating her hand geometry scan." The defendants did not obtain Young's written consent, it is claimed, with the suit alleging violations under various provisions of BIPA.

The plaintiff is requesting damages to the plaintiff and the class for each alleged violation, and an order barring the company from any further BIPA violations.

Young is represented by Douglas M. Werman, Maureen A. Salas, Zachary C. Flowerree, Sarah J. Arendt, and Jacqueline H. Villanueva, of Werman Salas of Chicago.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 2019-L-742.

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