CHICAGO — BSNF Railway Co has been ordered to pay $228 million to thousands of truck drivers after a jury ruled that the company illegally obtained their fingerprints.
The verdict, handed down on Wednesday, Oct. 12, in a Chicago federal court, will allow the 45,600 to each receive $5,000, which is the maximum allowed under law.
BNSF officials said in a statement that the verdict “reflects a misunderstanding of key issues” and that it would appeal.
Reuters reported that this is the first trial under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), a state law which restricts collection of biometric data like fingerprints or retinal scans.
“We’re very pleased with the verdict and it shows that privacy is important and that companies must comply with the law, and will be held accountable if they don’t,” said David Gerbie of McGuire Law, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.
The class action was filed in 2019 by one driver,
Richard Rogers filed the class action suit in 2019, Reuters reported. Rogers said that BNSF required truck drivers to scan their fingerprints when picking up and dropping off loads at the company’s Illinois facilities.
In his suit, Rogers claimed the practice violated Illinois’ BIPA, and the jury agreed.
The law, passed in 2008, is one of the toughest biometric privacy laws in the country, requiring companies to obtain written consent before collecting any biometric data.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.