McDonald v. Symphony Bronzeville Park, LLCAnnotate this Case
McDonald filed a putative class action, alleging that her former employer, Bronzeville, collected, used, and stored sensitive biometric data from employees in a fingerprint timekeeping system, violating the Biometric Information Privacy Act,740 ILCS 14/1. McDonald alleged that she was never provided with nor signed a release and had never been informed of the purposes or length of time for which her biometric information was stored. Bronzeville argued that the claims were barred by the Workers’ Compensation Act, 820 ILCS 305/1, the exclusive remedy for accidental injuries transpiring in the workplace, and that an employee has no common-law or statutory right to recover civil damages from an employer for injuries incurred in the course of her employment.
The circuit court rejected Bronzeville’s argument, reasoning that privacy rights are neither a psychological nor physical injury and not compensable under the Compensation Act. The appellate court and Illinois Supreme Court concluded that an employee's claim against an employer for liquidated damages under the Privacy Act, available without further compensable actual damages being alleged or sustained and intended to have a preventative and deterrent effect, is not the type of injury that categorically fits within the purview of the Compensation Act, a remedial statute designed to provide financial protection for workers that have sustained an actual injury.