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Franchisors Now Liable in Biometric Scan Violation Suits: What Does This Mean for Businesses?


A recent ruling by a judge has shed light on the responsibility of franchisors in cases involving biometric scan violations. The judge ruled that franchisors can also be held liable in lawsuits claiming violations of biometric privacy laws. This ruling could make businesses more vulnerable to lawsuits, and it is important for companies to understand their responsibilities when it comes to biometric data. Biometric data is any information that can be used to identify a person based on their physical or behavioral characteristics, such as fingerprints, facial recognition, or iris scans. In recent years, the use of biometric data has become more prevalent, particularly in industries such as healthcare and finance. However, the collection and storage of this data can lead to serious privacy concerns.

In the case at hand, plaintiffs alleged that a franchisor required its franchisees to use biometric time clocks to track employee attendance without providing adequate notice or obtaining written consent, in violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). The franchisor argued that it should not be held liable as it was not directly involved in the collection or storage of the biometric data. However, the judge ruled that the franchisor could still be held liable as it exercised substantial control over the franchisees' operations and had the ability to dictate their employment practices.

This ruling has significant implications for businesses, particularly those operating under a franchise model. Franchisors must now be aware of the potential liability they face in cases involving biometric data and ensure that their franchisees are complying with all applicable laws and regulations. This may require additional training and oversight to ensure that all franchisees are collecting and storing biometric data in a compliant manner.

Moreover, this ruling could encourage plaintiffs' attorneys to pursue similar cases against other franchisors, potentially leading to a flood of lawsuits. Businesses should take steps to mitigate this risk by reviewing their biometric data collection and storage policies and ensuring compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

In conclusion, this ruling highlights the importance of protecting biometric data and the potential legal consequences for businesses that fail to do so. Franchisors and other businesses must take proactive steps to ensure that they are complying with all applicable laws and regulations governing the collection and storage of biometric data.

If your business uses biometric data, you need to be aware of a recent ruling that could increase your risk of facing lawsuits. For a free consultation, call us at (312) 313-1613 or contact us online.