biometric time clocks, are they a violation of the 4th (or other) amendments? What can employers do with your biometrics?

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biometric time clocks, are they a violation of the 4th (or other) amendments? What can employers do with your biometrics?

I work for a government agency and they have installed fingerprint scanner time clocks. They have not issued any policy regarding these devices, our rights, the use of the collected data, it’s destruction upon termination etc. They are simply saying “comply unconditionally or be terminated.”I thought my biometrics were mine and were protected. Can they simply require my biometrics especially without any conditions?

Asked on June 5, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If we're talking about your fingerprints, calling them "biometrics" doesn't change anything.  In most states, it's settled law that you have no expectation of privacy as far as your fingerprints are concerned, and it takes no more than the most minimal interest in your fingerprints, usually, to justify taking them and recording them.  From what you've told me, they're just using your fingerprints as a high-tech, cheat-proof replacement for old fashioned time cards.

You might have more facts that have some bearing on this, and if you want a detailed evaluation of your rights, you need to discuss this with a qualified attorney in your area.  One place to find a lawyer is our website, http://attorneypages.com

J.V., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

your employer can use a time clock such as this if that is what they choose to do. The use of a clock like this is to ensure people are clocking in and out it is the actual person and it is a way for the employer to protect themselves.

You can call a locl attorney and inquire further, ask them if any other istances of this type of clock have arisen in your area and if an issues came of it they will be able to tell you.

Yet in general without being licensed in AZ I can tell you that it is not unreasonable to use this form of a time clock


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