The Challenges of "Scanning" In and Out
As technology advances, so do the means by which employers manage their
employees, including such non-glamorous tasks as tracking employee time. Some
users have begun using biometric scanning technology (i.e., devices that utilize
fingerprints, handprints, retinal data, or face-recognition technology) to
track employee hours. But this technology is giving some employers headaches
and leading to new types of lawsuits.
For example, employees in Illinois have brought class action lawsuits
against employers that use biometric scanning technology under the Illinois Biometric
Information Privacy Act, which requires employers to take certain measures to safeguard
the privacy of employee biometric data collected in the course of their
employment. The Act also contains a number of notice and procedural
requirements such as informing employees in writing regarding the purposes for
which their information is being collected and used and the length of time for
which their biometric information will be stored, and securing a written
release prior to collecting their biometric information.
Accordingly, employers should consider adopting employment policies
describing the company’s stance on this issue and make sure that employees are
aware of, and understand, those policies. For employers with employees in
Illinois, Washington, or Texas, the policies need to comply with the laws in place
in those states. Finally, employers should make a legal risk assessment that
considers the ability of the employer to comply with these laws and protect employee
information in light of the benefits of new technology.