New York City Has Proposed a Biometrics Privacy Law
Biometrics is a new technology identification system being used by a variety of industries for various purposes. The primary means of identification include:
- Retinal scans
- Facial recognition
- Iris scans
Businesses have started using biometrics for time clocks, for entry to secure areas and to login to phones and computers. To this degree, biometrics directly relates to employment situations.
States with Biometric Privacy Laws
While new technology is often uncharted territory from a legal perspective, three states have already adopted biometric privacy laws: Illinois, Texas and Washington. What the laws have in common is requiring consent before collecting biometric information. Illinois law is the most restrictive and requires employers to destroy the employee’s biometric information after a certain period of time if no longer employed by the business.
New York City Proposed Biometric Privacy Law
The National Law Review published an article in January 2019 that described the proposed bill under consideration by the New York City Council. The bill would require businesses to give notice to customers if they are collecting biometric identifier information, and it included a provision that if a person’s information was collected, retained, converted, shared or stored in violation of the law, the person had the right to take legal action.
Under the proposed NYC law, business owners using biometrics would be required to do the following:
- Post a clear and conspicuous sign in plain language that explains the business is collecting, retaining, converting, storing and sharing biometric information.
- Business must also make the following available online:
- How long they are retaining or storing the information
- The type of biometric information collected
- Purpose of the collection
- Whether they are sharing information with third parties
At this point, employers should be aware of the fact that a biometric privacy law has been proposed. Currently, NY State Labor Law Section 201-a states that unless allowed by law, no employer can require a person to be fingerprinted as a condition for securing employment or continued employment.
Our attorneys at Stephen Hans & Associates stay up-to-date with legal changes that affect employment. We represent business owners in employment litigation matters.