Due Process Violation - Collective Bargaining Agreements.

Byline: Derek Hawkins

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Jennifer Miller, et al. v. Southwest Airlines Co., et al.

Case No.: 18-3476; 19-1785

Officials: WOOD, Chief Judge, and BAUER and EASTERBROOK, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Due Process Violation - Collective Bargaining Agreements

We have consolidated two appeals that pose a common question: whether persons who contend that air carriers have violated state law by using biometric identification in the workplace must present these contentions to an adjustment board under the Railway Labor Act (RLA), 45 U.S.C. 15188, which applies to air carriers as well as railroads. 45 U.S.C. 181. The answer is yes if the contentions amount to a "minor dispute"that is, a dispute about the interpretation or application of a collective bargaining agreement. 45 U.S.C. 151a, 184; Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. v. Norris, 512 U.S. 246, 25253 (1994). Plaintiffs insist that a judge should resolve their contentions, while defendants contend that resolution belongs to an adjustment board.

The claims in each suit arise under the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), 740 ILCS 14/5 to 14/25, which Illinois adopted in 2008. This law applies to all biometric identifiers, which the statute defines to include fingerprints. 740 ILCS 14/10. Before obtaining any fingerprint, a "private entity" must inform the subject or "the subject's legally authorized representative" in writing about several things, such as the purpose of collecting the data and how long they will be kept, and obtain the consent of the subject or authorized representative. 740 ILCS 14/15(b). The private entity also must establish and make available to the public a protocol for retaining and handling biometric data, which must be destroyed "when the initial purpose for collecting or obtaining such identifiers or information has been satisfied or within 3 years of the individual's last interaction with the private entity, whichever occurs first." 740 ILCS 14/15(a). Sales of biometric information are forbidden, 740 ILCS 14/15(c), and transfers are limited, 740 ILCS 14/15(d). Private entities must protect biometric information from disclosure. 740 ILCS 14/15(e).

Both Southwest Airlines and United Airlines maintain timekeeping systems that require workers to clock in and out with their fingerprints. Plaintiffs contend that the air carriers implemented these systems without their consent, failed to publish protocols...

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