The Illinois Supreme Court recently agreed to hear an appeal of an Appellate Court’s decision addressing whether an employee’s claim for damages under Illinois’s Biometric Information Protection Act (BIPA) is preempted by the exclusivity provisions of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (IWCA).

Over the past few years. there has been a significant number of class action lawsuits under the BIPA. A key defense for employers defending BIPA lawsuits has been that the BIPA is preempted by the IWCA. Back in September, the Illinois Appellate Court for the First Judicial District held that employees’ BIPA claims were not preempted under the IWCA and could go forward. The Illinois Supreme Court will consider whether this defense has merit, and perhaps reign in the significant number of lawsuits, including putative class actions filed under the BIPA.

In their recent blog post, Maya Atrakchi and Jason C. Gavejian, attorneys in Jackson Lewis’ Privacy, Data and Cybersecurity Practice Group, urge companies to “immediately take steps to comply with the statute.” 

BIPA poses class-wide risks to companies with operations in Illinois or who engage with employees or consumers in the state. However, biometric privacy should be on the radar of companies everywhere, as other biometric laws are in place in other states, and additional legislation has been introduced elsewhere, at both the state and federal levels.