Madison - St. Clair Record

Monday, December 16, 2019

Class action requested in action against healthcare facility accused of privacy violations

State Court

By John Breslin | Dec 2, 2019


EDWARDSVILLE - A rehabilitation center is the latest company or institution to face a class action over allegations it violated Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

Godfrey Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Carbondale is alleged, among other claims, to have failed to obtain written consent from employees prior to taking hand scans to identify them when clocking in and out of the facility.

The action, taken in the name of lead plaintiff Sheri Carrington and filed Nov. 13 in Madison County Circuit Court, asks for $5,000 for each intentional or reckless violation and $1,000 for every negligent one.

Several filings asking for class action certification for alleged violations of the BIPA have been filed in the court, many by the same attorneys from a St. Louis-based law firm, Pfeiffer, Wolf, Carr & Kane of St. Louis,

The most recent filing, as with others, notes that class members do not have to show they were injured by the actions of employers following an Illinois Supreme Court ruling earlier this year.

Godfrey Healthcare did not respond to a request for comment from the Record.

Under BIPA, employers, and other companies that ask for biometric information, must inform a person in writing the data will be collected, reveal the specific purpose, receive written release, and publish details of how long it will be retained.

The complaint alleges that Godfrey Healthcare makes their employees scan at least one of the hands and that the data gleaned from this action is stored in a database.

Carrington and other class members never received any information on the data retention policy and did not give written consent allowing the scans, according to the suit, which also claims third parties had access to the data.

A class action is necessary as it is believed more than 40 former and present employees, who can be identified via the defendant's own records, had their rights violated, the suit states. The class action is also needed to protect current employees from retaliation, it is claimed.

Carrington is represented by Brandon Wise and Paul A. Lesko  of Pfeiffer, Wolf, Carr & Kane of St. Louis,

Madison County Circuit Court case number 2019-L-1636.

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