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Biometric suit against Ralph Lauren may continue



A federal district court in Chicago has refused to dismiss a suspected class action lawsuit accusing Ralph Lauren Corp. Inc. for violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.

Separately, another Chicago district court last week agreed to dismiss BIPA disputes filed against American Airlines Inc. because it was exempt under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Genesis Martinez, who was employed at the Ralph Lauren facility in Aurora, Illinois from May 2018 to August 2019, filed a lawsuit against New York-based Ralph Lauren, accusing it of violating BIPA by scanning, collecting, storing and using employees’ fingerprints and biometric information for its timing system, without proper written consent or making the necessary disclosures, according to Sunday̵

7;s ruling in Genesis Martinez v. Ralph Lauren Corp., Inc.

“Ralph Lauren acknowledges that it does not have a biometric data storage policy, let alone a public one,” the ruling said.

It “claims that the complaint does not adequately claim that Ralph Lauren acted recklessly, intentionally or negligently in violating BIPA”, it said.

Ms Martinez “has relied sufficiently on ruthlessness and intent”, the court found, however. The company is alleged to have violated the law more than a decade after BIPA’s passage, it said.

“Beyond this, Ralph Lauren is not a small company, with limited resources in line with state laws,” as it operates under, it said, by refusing to write off the case.

Lawyers in the case did not respond to a request for comment.

The alleged class-action lawsuit against American Airlines accuses it of violating BIPA by using interactive voice response software in its customer service hotline, according to last week’s ruling in Alex Kislov and Niko Hearn v. American Airlines Inc.

The ADA contains a preferential provision that stipulates that states cannot adopt a law related to an airline’s services, the ruling said. The “threshold question” is whether redemption applies, it said.

It concludes that it does. “The complaint itself actually alleges that American implemented the voice recognition software” to better achieve customer service goals “through personalization and reduced turnaround times,” the decision said, dismissing the case.

Lawyers in the case did not respond to a request for comment.


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