Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner Retail Blog

Retail Law

Other Posts

Main Content

U.S. COVID-19: Biometrics and Business Re-Opening

Now that wearing gloves has become the new normal because of the COVID-19 pandemic, biometric privacy litigation, which in recent years has centered on employers’ use of finger-scan timekeeping technology, may ultimately shift in focus to the measures that businesses implement as employees return to the workplace and customers begin to frequent their favorite establishments.  Body temperature checks, used to screen employees and visitors for a fever, are one such measure being considered as a first line of defense for public health.

To mount a defense against, or avoid altogether, biometric privacy class action litigation, businesses open to the public and employers must have a comprehensive understanding of the thermometer or thermal imaging technology selected—and the data it captures—before rolling out temperature screenings on a widespread basis.  Among the technologies available are:

  • Non-contact infrared thermometers that use lasers to measure temperature from a distance;
  • Thermal imaging cameras that detect elevated skin temperatures compared against a sample of average temperature values;
  • Monitoring systems that use thermal and color visual imaging to detect fevers in high-volume pedestrian areas; and
  • “Wearables” that can use radiometric thermometry measuring electromagnetic wave emissions.

While temperature screening has been endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and various state and local governments, biometric privacy laws have not been suspended or amended.  The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) regulates the possession, collection, capture, purchase, receipt, and sale of “biometric identifiers” and “biometric information”—defined to include retina or iris

COVID-19 in 19: Workplace Temperature Screening: Who, Where and How

The notion that U.S. employers would engage in broad-scale temperature screening of employees and visitors would have once been unthinkable. But the realities of COVID-19 are changing the workplace, as least for the time-being. With the encouragement of the CDC and certain state and local governments, and a green light from the EEOC, many employers are implementing daily temperature screening as one means of keeping their employees healthy. As part of our continuing series of 19-minute teleconferences on the impacts of COVID-19, join us as we discuss best practices for temperature screening and highlight potential issues employers should keep in mind.

Event Details

Date Tuesday, May 5, 2020 Time 1 p.m. to 1:19 p.m. PDT 2 p.m. to 2:19 p.m. MDT 3 p.m. to 3:19 p.m. CDT 4 p.m. to 4:19 p.m. EDT

Register to attend >

Investigating Claims of Harassment – Part 2: Interviewing the Complainant and Planning the Investigation

February 15, 2018

Categories

You have received a complaint of harassment.  What next?  In this second part of a six-part series, we focus on interviewing the complainant and planning the rest of the investigation.  As always, bear in mind that each harassment investigation is different and must be tailored to fit the particular circumstances.

The interview of the complainant is usually the first and most important interview that will be conducted, and therefore, should be carefully planned beforehand. This interview, and all others, should be conducted in a private, neutral meeting space at your location. The following provides an illustration of the areas that should be covered by the investigator during the interview of the complainant.

At the beginning of the meeting, the investigator should:

  • Identify his/her role as investigator (i.e., you are a neutral conducting an investigation on behalf of the company).
  • Ask the complainant whether he/she is comfortable with the investigator as the investigator and believes that he/she can conduct an impartial investigation. If the complainant is not comfortable with the investigator or indicates a belief that the investigator cannot conduct an impartial investigation, the investigator should try to identify another person to conduct the investigation. If the investigator is having difficulty with this, an HR supervisor or the company’s attorney should be contacted.
  • Explain that the company is conducting a prompt and thorough investigation to determine whether inappropriate conduct has occurred and, if it determines that it has, will take appropriate corrective action to stop it.
  • Assure the complainant that

Investigating and Responding to Harassment Claims – Part 1: The Complaint

January 30, 2018

Categories

What if you were the human resources manager or in-house counsel that received a complaint that Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, or any of the other number of recently accused individuals sexually harassed an employee?  With the rise of sexual harassment allegations receiving increased scrutiny, retailers need to have proper procedures in place for handling claims of sexual and other harassment in the workplace.

This is the first of a six-part series that will address guidelines and suggestions for conducting investigations of harassment complaints. Each harassment investigation, however, is different, and any investigation should be tailored to fit the particular circumstances.

What Complaint?

A harassment “complaint” need not be written, nor does a “complaint” have to actually be made to anyone. Most of the time, an employee brings a complaint forward to a supervisor or to human resources. However, there are times that supervisors or human resources may “hear through the grapevine,” “shop talk,” or general remarks that someone believes that he or she has been harassed.  In these informal “rumor” situations, just as in the situation where a formal complaint is made, prompt investigation and follow-up should be immediately undertaken. Constant vigilance and careful monitoring is one of the ways that we can ensure a workplace free of harassing behavior.

As soon as you become aware of a harassment complaint, consider:

  • Harassment investigations must be conducted promptly. From the beginning of the investigation, until the complaint file is closed (meaning that disciplinary action if any, is taken and the complainant is
The attorneys of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner make this site available to you only for the educational purposes of imparting general information and a general understanding of the law. This site does not offer specific legal advice. Your use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Bryan Cave LLP or any of its attorneys. Do not use this site as a substitute for specific legal advice from a licensed attorney. Much of the information on this site is based upon preliminary discussions in the absence of definitive advice or policy statements and therefore may change as soon as more definitive advice is available. Please review our full disclaimer.