Walton v. Roosevelt UniversityAnnotate this Case
Walton filed a class-action complaint against his former employer, alleging that Roosevelt’s collection, use, storage, and disclosure of Walton’s and similarly situated employees’ biometric data violated the Biometric Information Privacy Act (740 ILCS 14/15(a), (b), (d). Roosevelt required those employees to enroll scans of their hand geometry onto a biometric timekeeping device as a means of clocking in and out of work. Walton alleged that he was never provided with nor signed a release consenting to the collection, storage, or dissemination of his biometric data; he had never been informed of any biometric data retention policy developed by Roosevelt; and he had never been informed of the specific purpose or length of time for which his biometric information was being stored. Roosevelt argued that Walton’s Privacy Act claims were preempted by section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA), 29 U.S.C. 185, because Walton was a member of a collective bargaining unit with a collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court holding that section 301 preempts Privacy Act claims asserted by bargaining unit employees covered by a CBA. Noting federal precedent, the court stated that although there was no reference to biometric information in the CBA, “[t]he timekeeping procedures for workers are a topic for negotiation that is clearly covered" by the CBA and "requires the interpretation or administration of the agreement."