Illinois Supreme Court: Federal Labor Law Preempts Union Employees’ BIPA Claims
The Illinois Supreme Court in Walton v. Roosevelt University, 2023 IL 128338 (Mar. 23, 2023), unanimously affirmed dismissal of the putative class action arising under the Illinois Biometric Privacy Information Act, 740 ILCS 14/1 (“BIPA”), concluding that federal labor law preempted BIPA claims brought by unionized employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”). Consistent with Seventh Circuit federal court decisions in support of federal preemption, the Walton high court’s ruling specifically provides that Section 301 of the federal Labor Management Relations Act (“LMRA”), 29 U.S.C. § 185, preempts BIPA claims asserted by union employees (or bargaining unit employees) covered by a CBA in Illinois state courts. Therefore, the federal preemption defense may be used to foreclose these unionized employees from bringing BIPA claims in state and federal courts, including on a class action basis.
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