BIPA Changes Head to Illinois Governor’s Desk

Date: May 17, 2024

The Illinois House, following the Senate’s lead, passed SB 2979, a bill including important changes to the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). The legislation will now head to the governor. It is expected that he will sign it into law.

The bill clarifies that liability for BIPA violations occurs on a per person—instead of a per incident—basis, providing liability relief going forward to employers who may inadvertently violate its provisions. SB 2979 also contains provisions explicitly authorizing the use of electronic signatures on biometric collection consent forms.

The legislation does not, however, make these changes retroactive, potentially leaving employers subject to frivolous lawsuits due to alleged violations in the past. Many lawmakers opposed the measure because they didn’t believe it went far enough or provided adequate relief to businesses currently targeted by expensive lawsuits.

Many businesses have been hit by costly lawsuits under the current provisions of BIPA. Last year, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in Cothron v. White Castle System, Inc. that each separate incident of unauthorized biometric collection or transmission was a separate violation of the act and subject to individual damages.

The Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) governs the collection and transmission of individuals’ biometric information, providing for civil liability for any violations. Many employers, whose employees clock in and out with fingerprint scans, have been targeted in civil lawsuits for allegedly failing to attain sufficient employee consent for the collection of the employee’s biometric information.

Related Content: Small Business News | Illinois

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