A Central Illinois pork producer is being sued for allegedly violating biometric privacy laws.
The Journal Courier reports that a class action lawsuit was filed at the end of last month in federal court in Springfield by Rene Reyes against The Maschhoffs LLC.
The civil action challenges the pork producer’s practice of allegedly requiring biometric identifiers “to clock in and clock out by scanning their fingerprints into a fingerprint-scanning machine,” according to court documents.
The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act allows use of such equipment, but requires employees to be notified and provide written consent to collect and store biometric information such as fingerprints. The law also stipulates biometric data must be securely stored and details about how data is handled and destroyed must be disclosed.
According to the lawsuit, none of the directives of the act were allegedly followed. The lawsuit details the company’s supposed lack of security measures of protecting workers’ biometric and private information.
The lawsuit seeks damages of $5,000 for each violation that is determined willful or reckless and $1,000 for each violation considered negligent, in addition to punitive damages. It also wants the court to require The Maschhoffs LLC to disclose how any data was stored and disposed of and to detail whether any data was transferred, sold, or shared.
The Maschhoffs LLC is headquartered in Pittsfield and has locations in Pike and Cass counties, as well as Carlyle, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri. According to the company’s website, they are one of the largest pork producers in Central Illlinois, raising nearly 4 million head per year.
The company has not yet responded to the complaint.