Madison - St. Clair Record

Friday, April 10, 2020

Manufacturer of biometric timekeeping devices sued over alleged violation of privacy act


By John Breslin | Feb 17, 2020


EDWARDSVILLE – A manufacturer of devices used to collect employees' biometric information faces a lawsuit over claims it violated an Illinois privacy act.

Paycor Inc., which sells its fingerprint and hand geometry devices to many businesses, from small enterprises to global corporations, is accused of violating provisions of the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

Plaintiff Kellin Jones, who worked for Club Fitness in various locations in the region, is asking for class action certification in her claim against the company, which designs and manufactures time and attendance devices. She filed suit Jan. 29 in Madison County Circuit Court.

Businesses using biometric data devices for clocking in and out are facing action over claims they violated the act.

Paycor, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment, is accused of the "unlawful collection, use, storage and disclosure" of sensitive biometric data, according to the lawsuit.

The suit states that, while there are benefits to using biometric time clocks, there are also serious risks, which have been highlighted by serious data breaches of various companies, including notably Equifax.

Paycor is accused of violating the provisions of BIPA by not informing in writing its purpose in retaining data and length of time it planned to do so, that no written release was given, and that it improperly disclosed data to other unknown parties.

The suit asks the court to declare Paycor in violation of BIPA provisions, order the company to cease unlawful activities and pay damages.

Under BIPA, plaintiffs can be awarded $5,000 for each intentional violation and $1,000 for each negligent one.

The lead plaintiff in this case worked for Club Fitness in Alton, Granite City and Belleville among other locations. Paycor, it is claimed, provided the hardware to the fitness company.

The plaintiff is represented by Catherine T. Mitchell of Stephan Zouras in Chicago and Brandon M. Wise of Peiffer Wolf Carr & Kane of St. Louis.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 2020-L-0114.

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Third Judicial Court of Illinois