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Personalization Company Faces Illinois Biometric Privacy Suit

Nov. 22, 2019, 6:15 PM

A company that specializes in personalizing gifts and other items violated Illinois’ biometric privacy law when it collected and stored workers’ fingerprint scans, two former employees alleged in a complaint filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.

PersonalizationMall.com LLC, owned by Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., scanned and stored fingerprint data from workers clocking in and out of work, according to the Nov. 21 putative class action. Plaintiffs LaTonia Williams and Dequrvia Williams, who worked at a company warehouse in 2017 and 2018, allege they weren’t informed in writing that the company was capturing, collecting, storing or using their biometric information.

The complaint highlights the risks employers that use biometric time-keeping systems face under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.

The company has no policy telling workers what happens to the data once it is collected, whether it’s given to a third party, and what what happens to the information when an employee leaves the company, the plaintiffs alleged.

PersonalizationMall.com’s “practice of collecting fingerprints from its workers is unlawful and a serious invasion of its workers’ right to privacy concerning their biometric information,” according to the complaint.

Bed Bath & Beyond acquired the personalization company in 2016.

Cause of Action: Violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act

Relief Requested: Class certification, injunctive relief, statutory damages, and attorneys fees and costs

Response: PersonalizationMall.com didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment

Attorneys: Law Office of Thomas M. Ryan P.C. represents the plaintiffs

The case is Williams LaTonia v. PersonalizationMall.com LLC, Ill. Cir. Ct., No. 2019-CH-13507, complaint filed 11/21/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sara Merken in Washington at smerken@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Hughes at jhughes@bloomberglaw.com Keith Perine at kperine@bloomberglaw.com

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