Biometric Information
Privacy Act

In Illinois, corporations that want to collect your fingerprints, handprints, facial geometry and other biometric data must first receive your written informed consent. When they don’t, we make it right – and we’ve gone to the Supreme Court four times to do it.

Beginning in the mid-to-late 2000s, private entities in Illinois increasingly began deploying biometric identification systems to streamline identity verification. Although the use of these systems in the corporate sector helps maximize profits by increasing productivity and efficiency, the ease with which biometrics are electronically extracted, stored, and disseminated makes them vulnerable to abuse from entities seeking to profit off the data, hackers bent on identity theft, and foreign governments building databases of U.S. citizens.

With the rise of biometric technology and commensurate threats posed from its use, the Illinois legislature responded to the “very serious need” to protect the biometrics of Illinois citizens by unanimously passing the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) in 2008.

Biometric data protected under BIPA include fingerprints, handprints, retina scans, voice recognition and facial geometry. All of this information is biologically unique to the individual; therefore, once compromised, an individual has no recourse and is at a heightened risk for identity theft and other misuse.  Unless safeguards are instituted and followed, employees and consumers are exposed to serious and irreversible privacy risks.

For example, if a fingerprint database is hacked, breached, or otherwise compromised, victims have no way to prevent the misappropriation and theft of their own biometric makeup. Unlike social security numbers, credit card numbers or other financial information, biometric data is part of a person’s physical being and impossible to change – an alarming reality, especially considering that a black market already exists for biometric data.

Recognizing these risks, BIPA – the strongest law in the Unites States which protects individuals’ biometric data – achieves its goal by making it unlawful for a private entity to collect, store, use, or disseminate a person’s biometric data unless it first:

  • Informs the person in writing that biometric data is being collected, stored, disseminated or used;
  • Informs the person in writing of the specific purpose and length of term for which
    biometric data is being collected, stored, or used;
  • Receives a written release executed by the person (See more here) and their consent to collect, store, use, or disseminate their biometric data, and;
  • Establishes and adheres to a written, publicly-available biometric retention and destruction schedule.

BIPA provides for statutory damages of $5,000 for each intentional or reckless violation of BIPA or, in the alternative, statutory damages of $1,000 for each negligent violation.

Notwithstanding its simple, straightforward and easily-understood requirements, many private entities operating in Illinois—including some of the largest corporations in the world—have persistently disregarded the law.  In the employment context alone, private entities have collected, used, stored and disseminated biometric data from hundreds of thousands of Illinois citizens from all walks of life, from critical care nurses to grocery store employees to factory workers, without informed consent.

That’s why in early 2017, our firm filed the first BIPA case in the employment context, and ever since has pioneered trailblazing litigation under the statute and recovered tens of millions of dollars for hundreds of thousands of Illinois citizens.  Recognizing our expertise in the area, state and federal courts have appointed our attorneys to lead dozens of high-stakes BIPA class actions against some of the largest corporations in the world.

We’ve argued before the Illinois Supreme Court for people whose BIPA rights were violated an unprecedented four times, more than any other firm, and won groundbreaking victories that: 1) BIPA claims accrue each time a private entity collects or disseminates a person’s biometric data without securing their prior informed consent and a release (Cothron v. White Castle); and 2) all claims under BIPA are subject to a five-year statute of limitations (Tims v. Black Horse Carriers).

That’s on top of dozens of other important victories we’ve won at the appellate and trial court levels, which include successfully defending BIPA on Constitutional grounds, upholding BIPA’s applicability to healthcare workers and maintaining personal jurisdiction of the Illinois courts over non-resident BIPA defendants.

If you believe your fingerprints, facial geometry or other biometric information was unlawfully collected and want more information on your rights, please contact us


What Our Clients Are Saying

The law firm, Stephan Zouras, handled a matter for me that was very problematic - I cannot be too specific because of the nondisclosure agreement, but suffice it to say that they came through for me FAR beyond my expectations - TWICE, in TWO separate cases. I will DEFINITELY use them in the future if I ever have any similar cases against unfair employers. Anyone that thinks attorneys are not accessible needs to hire this firm. Every staff member (Kerry, Ryan, many others) was polite, and professional, understanding, kind, and sympathetic. Thanks again, to all of you on my settlement!

- Don D.

Jim Zouras is a dedicated and caring professional who fights for the rights of ordinary people. Throughout what could have been a difficult process, I always felt Jim “had my back” and was looking out for my best interests.

- Stephanie L.

I worked with Andy Ficzko, an associate of Stephan Zouras. I cannot thank the team, especially Andy, enough for helping me to settle a dispute that I had for a few years. I didn't know where to go and am so thankful that I was directed to use this group. Andy worked hard and was persistent in getting a settlement for me. He always kept me in the loop, did what was in my best interest and never gave up. After years in this dispute, it only took a few short months for Andy to help me walk away with a win. He worked hard to help me and I am so appreciative to him! This is the best group around! Thank you and here's to continued success!!

- Jennifer S.

I was a part of a class action suit which Teresa Becvar handled. Numerous times I had questions and Teresa always returned my phone calls or emails quickly. She was courteous and knowledgeable and encouraging. I am feeling so blessed with the outcome of our lawsuit and I appreciate everything STEPHAN ZOURAS LLP, ATTORNEYS AT LAW DID FOR ME.

- Erika

I would highly recommend that you use this firm. Anna at Stephan Zouras, LLC is an incredibly compassionate person, one who's committed to resolving your case. I couldn't be happier with the results pertaining to my case. And most importantly, they are extremely knowledgeable and informative to clients. Thank you Anna and all the staff at Stephan Zouras. My extended family SALUTE!

- Mr. JB

I couldn't have been happier with Ryan Stephan. I handle securities administrative work and it's difficult to find someone to help when I need advice and legal assistance. Ryan is not only knowledgeable but communicative and responsive. I'm grateful to have him in my corner and highly recommend him and his firm.

- Mary

Stephan Zouras law firm is one of the best. My personal experience with Teresa and the firm was phenomenal. Teresa always kept me informed and genuinely showed she cared. I would recommend this firm and Teresa to anyone looking for honest people that will fight for you and go the extra mile.

- LaChelle

I worked with Jim Zouras and it was a pleasure. He told us what to expect and what NOT to expect, and that is exactly how things happened. He talked to me like I had a brain but was not a lawyer and I appreciated that. Hope I never need him again but would hire him again in a second.

- April W.

Ryan represented me and my co-workers as part of a large class-action lawsuit against our former employer for multiple violations of labor law. I did not choose him myself, but am so glad somebody found him because he is one of the best attorneys I've ever met. He is dedicated and driven by a sense of moral justice which is increasingly uncommon in any industry today. When working with me, he was incredibly professional combining a sense of empowerment and ferocity in his approach. He is sensitive to his clients' needs and is able to craft a deadly offense while maintaining only the position that his client(s) desire. He ensures that his clients get a stellar advocate in court who will serve as their voice. He won our case resulting in recompense for hard-working people who were unfairly denied pay for work they performed for their company across the course of several years. If you are looking for an OUTSTANDING attorney, Ryan Stephan is your guy.

- Erica

I was always kept in the loop with my suit, and their persistence has paid off in the long run. I would recommend this firm to anyone looking to do a class action lawsuit. Ryan and the staff at Stephan Zouras are the best!

- Liz F.

If you need a hard-working, detailed, compassionate and cooperative class action attorney, this is your guy [Andy Ficzko]! He keeps in constant contact so you are always in the loop. No question goes unanswered and he makes you feel valued. Unlike some lawyers, he is not pretentious, but very professional and thorough. He handled my case seamlessly and it only required one visit to his office. From beginning to end, my case was completed in about 11 months. I am very happy with the outcome of my case!

- Cheryl

Ryan worked me while I was part of class action against a former employer who was in violation of various labor laws. He was very pleasant to work with. My overall experience with the firm was very positive and I highly recommend him and his team.

- Hassan

Jim Zouras and the legal team at Stephan Zouras did a thorough and outstanding job recovering overtime wages against a former employer. The case was handled as a class action, and Jim and his staff were complete professionals in promptly responding to calls, emails, answering questions, and keeping all of us informed throughout the process. They are dedicated to their work and exceeded our expectations. I would gladly recommend their services to anyone having issues with their employer.

- Kristin

A great firm to deal with - very personable. Kept up to date on the case and always gave me options. Ryan, his staff and the receptionist were all very nice and helpful at all times. Very satisfied with the results of the case. If you ever need an attorney he will be there for you and walk you through it.

- Brent

I worked with Jim Zouras as well as Teresa Becvar in a class action and won with a settlement that benefited a large group of fellow former employees. Communication was always very good and they were always helpful in answering any questions as well as preparing me for what was coming and what to expect.

- Ryan

This review is long overdue but my sentiments are still as overwhelmingly positive and strong for the firm-especially Ryan, Haley and Emily many months later. From day one Ryan made me feel like my case was his most important case, that I was not who was wrong, and that more than anything they were on my side. Their firm and the way they listen and make you feel is why I imagine one would go into practicing law. During my deposition the court reporter even commented how nice Ryan was- there is no need to be a jerk to get what you want. I'm not saying I would do this again but if Ryan and Haley were on my team I would not hesitate. In the end it was not like TV but Ryan is a true Hollywood hero in my world! And Haley a virtual rising star. I am forever grateful for them and helping me close an ugly chapter in my life.

- Roxann P.

Let me say I've sought out the assistance of this firm on three different occasions and I was never let down. This last time around it was a bit more involved with frequent visits and conference calls. When I tell you that they are great people to work with you can bet on it. Andy, Ryan and Anna were always on top of the matter along with updates all the time. They are awesome at what they do and I would STRONGLY RECOMMEND this firm to address your needs. Thanks again team for believing in me and seeing me through it all.

- Jeff

Teresa is a patient and very efficient lawyer. She has excellent communication, is detail oriented, calm and supportive. She helped me with a legal matter and was outstanding. I would recommend her to anyone in her area of specialty.

- Unpaid Wages Client
martindale-hubbell logo martindale-hubbell logo martindale-hubbell logo
Text Us:
(312) 854-8463