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Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Second Division
February 22, 2022, Decided
JUSTICE HOWSE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Presiding Justice Fitzgerald Smith and Justice Cobbs concurred in the judgment and opinion.
[*P1] This case is before the court for an answer to a certified question under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 308 (eff. Oct. 1, 2019). The certified question asks us to determine whether [**2] claims asserted by union member-employees under the Biometric Information Privacy Act (Privacy Act) (740 ILCS 14/1 et seq. (West 2020)) are preempted by federal law. The question certified by the circuit court for appeal is:
"Does Section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act (29 U.S.C. § 185) preempt [Privacy Act] claims (740 ILCS 14/1) asserted by bargaining unit employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement?"
[*P2] The defendant argued that the claims asserted by the plaintiff are preempted and moved to dismiss the complaint. The circuit court denied the motion to dismiss but certified the relevant question for interlocutory review. For the following reasons, we conclude that the plaintiff's claims are preempted under the Labor Management Relations Act (29 U.S.C. § 185 (2018)) and answer the certified question in the affirmative. Having answered the certified question, we remand the case to the circuit court for further proceedings.
[*P4] Plaintiff William Walton was an employee of defendant Roosevelt University (Roosevelt). Walton worked in Roosevelt's campus safety department. Like the other employees in the campus safety department, Walton was a member of the SEIU Local 1, a collective bargaining unit. Roosevelt required Walton and similarly situated employees to enroll scans of their hand onto a biometric timekeeping device [**3] as a means of clocking in and out of work. During the course of his employment, Walton allegedly scanned his hand geometry repeatedly for the purpose of Roosevelt keeping track of the hours he worked.
[*P5] ] Under Illinois law, private entities that collect and use individuals' biometric data, such as scans of their hand, must secure informed consent from those individuals or their legally authorized representatives and take other steps to ensure that the data is not stolen or used for improper purposes. See generally 740 ILCS 14/1 et seq. (West 2020). Recognizing the importance of biometric identification data to the individual and in recognition of its immutability, the General Assembly enacted the Privacy Act to "regulat[e] the collection, use, safeguarding, handling, storage, retention, and destruction of biometric identifiers and information." Id. § 5(g). When an entity collects biometric information but fails to comply with the Privacy Act's requirements, the Privacy Act provides that aggrieved individuals are entitled to file a civil action and collect damages for each violation of the Privacy Act committed by the collecting entity. Id. § 20.
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2022 IL App (1st) 210011 *; 2022 Ill. App. LEXIS 83 **
WILLIAM WALTON, Individually and on Behalf of Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ROOSEVELT UNIVERSITY, Defendant-Appellant.
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 19 CH 04176. Honorable Anna A. Demacopoulos, Judge Presiding.
Disposition: Certified question answered; cause remanded.
biometric, collective bargaining agreement, preempted, employees, collection, federal law, certified question, preemption, bargaining, circuit court, federal court, management rights, bargaining unit, parties, privacy, entity, legally authorized, federal statute, motion to dismiss, timekeeping, identifier, decisions, grievance, appeals, rights
Business & Corporate Compliance, Computer & Internet Law, Privacy & Security, State Regulation, Labor & Employment Law, Collective Bargaining & Labor Relations, Interpretation of Agreements, Civil Procedure, Appeals, Appellate Jurisdiction, Certified Questions, Interlocutory Orders, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Questions of Fact & Law, Federal & State Interrelationships, Federal Common Law, Preemption, Constitutional Law, Supremacy Clause, Federal Preemption, Supreme Law of the Land, Unfair Labor Practices, Jurisdiction, Federal Preemption, Primacy of Labor Policy, Labor Arbitration, Arbitrators, Authority, Bargaining Units, Employee Privacy, Constitutional Protections, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Courts, Judicial Precedent