Hyatt Becomes the Latest Target in Surge of Illinois Class Action Privacy Suits

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

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On October 30, 2017, the Hyatt Corporation was struck with a putative class action lawsuit wherein it was asserted that the company violated Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“Act”). Under the Act, an employer’s collection, use, handling, storage, retention and destruction of biometric identifiers and information, such as retina or iris scans, fingerprints, voiceprints and hand or face geometry, is regulated.

In this action, the named plaintiff, Robin Rapai, asserts that during her employment as a server at a Hyatt hotel in Oak Brook, Illinois, she and other employees were required to clock in and out of work using a fingerprint-based system without the company obtaining written consent or posting privacy policies as required by law. As a consequence, it is alleged that Hyatt put the private personal information of its employees at risk for identity theft.

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Pursuant to the Act, the plaintiffs can seek damages of $1,000 per negligent violation and $5,000 per intentional or reckless violation, or in each case, actual damages, whichever is greater.

Hyatt, however, is not the only Illinois employer who faces a class action over purported violations of the Act. Since July, it has been reported that over 25 suits have been filed in Illinois state courts containing similar allegations.

The Case Is: Robin Rapai v. Hyatt Corp., Case No.: 2017-CH-14483, in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Chancery Division.

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