Class-action sought in biometric data lawsuit against North Aurora senior facility

 
 
Updated 3/20/2019 2:32 PM

Two former employees of a North Aurora-based assisted-living center are seeking class-action status on a lawsuit over biometric data.

Shenae Scott and Louis Bermudes argue that Asbury Gardens has been collecting data, such a fingerprints of employees, in violation of the state's 2008 Biometric Information Privacy Act, according to a lawsuit recently filed in Kane County.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The lawsuit doesn't object to Asbury using biometric data; it argues Asbury failed to make proper disclosures and to implement safeguards required by the act.

"We plan to ask the court to allow the case to proceed as a class-action suit," said David Fish, attorney for the two former workers.

Fish said he did not know how many employees could be included in the suit and that to his knowledge, neither of his clients' information had been hacked or stolen. Fish declined additional comment.

Asbury Gardens Executive Director Elizabeth Gilbert said the company has not been served with the lawsuit, and that Asbury is in compliance with the Biometric Information Privacy Act.

"We take the privacy of our employees and our clients very seriously," Gilbert said.

According to the suit, Scott worked at Asbury through early 2019 and Bermudes was an Asbury employee until mid-2018.

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While working there, both plaintiffs had to scan their fingerprints through a biometric time-tracking system instead of using a key fob or identification card, according to the suit. A card or key fob can be replaced if lost, an employee's biometric data is unique and permanent and can have grave consequences if compromised, stolen or hacked, the suit argues.

"This exposes employees to serious and irreversible privacy risks. For example, if a fingerprint database is hacked, breached or otherwise exposed, employees would have no means by which to prevent identity theft and unauthorized tracking," the suit argued.

Asbury employees all had to have their fingerprints entered into the database and were required to scan their fingerprint to clock out at the end of a work day, according to the suit. Asbury did not have employees sign a written release for their biometric data and the company never told them how long the data would be kept and if it would be destroyed.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and is due for an initial court appearance May 30.

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