The Illinois General Assembly is currently considering House Bill 559, which would amend the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). BIPA was passed in 2008 and allows employees to sue employers for failure to protect or to get proper consent to use employees’ biometric data—like retina and fingerprint scans.
BIPA is one of the strictest laws in the US for protecting employee data and provides that employers who have violated the statute may be required to pay $1000 per violation, or $5000 per willful violation.
However, Bill 559 would significantly reduce the impact of BIPA on employers with the following amendments, among others:
· Narrowed definition of biometric data
· Creation of a 30-day cure period for employers to address a breach
· Reduction of statutory damages to actual damages plus attorney’s fees
Two previous attempts by the General Assembly to amend BIPA in a similar way have failed, so the final outcome remains to be seen.
If you have a concern related to biometric data, contact us for a free, 30-minute consultation with an employment attorney.